Review: Hybrid (15) / Director: Eric Valette / Screenplay: Benjamin Carr / Starring: Shannon Beckner, Oded Fehr, Ryan Kennedy, Melanie Papalia, Adrien Dorval / Release date: Out Now
John Carpenter recently said of his 1984 film Christine, that the problem with the film was he couldn’t figure out how to make the car scary. This is a valid point because it really is not scary unless it’s a big truck as evidenced by Duel and Jeepers Creepers. The makers of Hybrid address this issue to an extent by making it clear early on that there is some kind of tentacle Lovecraftian beast underneath the hood. Still apart from a couple of scenes, Hybrid never really goes full tilt into ridiculous fun the way it should.
The film starts with a mysterious driver-less car stalking the streets and consuming hapless pedestrians who happen to think they have found a free car and are then dissolved in the dark insides. This ferocious but somewhat stupid car can take whatever form it likes to appeal to whoever is passing by at the time. So theoretically if an 18 year old gangsta wannabe from South London wandered by it could turn into a Nova with alloys and a loud sound system. Whilst on the way back from another kill, instead of becoming a motorbike and weaving through traffic, the car gets involved in a collision and is impounded by the Police. We then spend the rest of the film in the multi storey parking garage that is used by the police amongst the company of the various grease monkeys, two token women and their hard-nosed pervy boss. For reasons never made entirely clear, the doors are all locked and escape is impossible as the car comes to life, switches models a few times and tries to consume all of the employees.
For such a stupid premise, Hybrid is played almost completely straight faced. It’s a film about a killer car, so why not take that silliness to its logical conclusion and go full tilt into over the top gore and carnage? Sadly director Eric Valette thinks he is making some kind of survival horror classic here but lacks the skill and the script to actually make that a reality. The film even had the good guys try and trap the car the way a Malaysian Tiger was trapped on TV, but even this is done without irony. When people are mown down by the car the film chooses to cut away instead of showing us a splattered mechanic on the concrete. After each murderous set piece there follows a confusing moment when the surviving mechanics stand around talking about their next step. For some reason during this time, the car never appears and just mows them all down and it’s not clear exactly what it’s doing, just watching perhaps. Maybe just a shot of the car driving away from the last dead body cackling, flashing its lights and beeping its horn would have made sense but the film is far too serious for all that.
All of the performances in this film are terribly stilted and unconvincing. There is very little attempt at character development and whoever cast Oded Fehr as a mechanic who is all business should never work again. Fehr’s performance is perhaps the worst I have ever seen in a straight to DVD horror film, and I have seen a few.
Hybrid is not the worst straight to DVD horror ever, it is moderately diverting and flirts with being entertaining. It just seems that the makers completely misjudged their audience and could have made something outrageous and fun instead of dour and serious.
Special Features: Anaglyph 3D version as well as 2D version.