THRILLER; 1hr 52min
STARRING: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler
Shock horror! From left, Gabriel Basso and Courtney
Some movies are all about Wow, and writer-director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) is right on top of that with this one. Super 8, about a group of small-town Ohio children who in 1979 witness an horrific train crash while shooting their super 8 Amateurville Horror zombie movie, is a grabber that’s gleefully big on pressure. The contents of the train weren’t exactly kosher, for one thing. And whatever has escaped from it isn’t going quietly.
As the locals stumble into crisis mode (power cuts, disappearing dogs — and worse!), the kids, being kids, keep on making their movie. For Joe (Courtney), pining for his late mom and not seeing eye to eye with his emotionally withholding deputy-sheriff dad (Chandler), the lights-camera-action is a chance to spend time with wounded cutie Alice (Fanning). Although, like just about everything in their lives right now, their situation is hardly simple.
The kids are scrappy and funny but the drama they’re mixed up in is no joke. Abrams builds from diffuse menace to full-scale havoc with the no-problemo proficiency of a big-time storyteller who really loves to play. Super.