Over the past several years, Lowell Dean has become quite the favourite amongst genre fans thanks, amongst other things, to his two fur-tastic WolfCop movies. And now, the highly talented Canadian is back with his latest offering: post-apocalyptic Western, SuperGrid.
Whereas those adventures for alcoholic werewolf lawman Lou Garou were completely over the top in the most brilliant of ways, with SuperGrid we’re given a far more serious picture from Dean. At the centre of this ensemble piece, we have two brothers (Leo Fafard and Marshall Williams) who find themselves having to embark on one last mission across one of the most dangerous pieces of land in this gone-to-shit world. In this world, a virus has hit mankind hard; every single day is a struggle for those unfortunate enough to still be alive in this ravaged time of suffering.
Those brothers, the Campbell boys, aren’t exactly bestest of buds these days, which in turn brings up far more personal demons than the oddities that await them on their journey. Throw in amazing action, an extravaganza of explosions, raucous roadside rascals, a charismatic cock of a bad guy, and a plot that has plenty of heart, and the end result is something mightily impressive. Added to that, across the board there are some spectacular performances on display throughout SuperGrid. Considering the sheer number of characters with significant roles here, it’s a testament to those behind the film that each and every role feels important and has a purpose – something that bigger budget Hollywood efforts so often struggle with.
There are, of course, some standout performances amongst the bunch, though. The dynamic between the Campbell brothers is a multi-layered joy to watch play out, with both Fafard and Williams on fine form, be that whether they’re involved in all-out action, exploring emotional beats, or simply quipping wise at one another. And for those familiar with Leo Fafard as the titular furball of the WolfCop pictures, SuperGrid brilliantly showcases another side of the actor. Similarly, WolfCop’s Jonathan Cherry is along for the ride in a far different role here. Rather than playing the funny slacker sidekick, Cherry dials up a truly marvellous villainous turn as Lazlo, the man forcing the Campbells to partake in their suicide run. Cherry’s nefarious Lazlo is suave, smooth, charismatic, and a thorough bastard of the highest order – and he’s all kinds of sinisterly entertaining to watch as he devours scenery whenever he’s on scene. And talking of scenery-chewing, Jay Reso (better known to wrestling fans as Christian) is a hungry piece of work on that front. Playing a tough-talking, grimace-wearing cowboy of sorts here, Reso gets the majority of the film’s best lines and his facials are simply outstanding.
On the other side of the camera, there are so many who deserve a whole lot of praise. First and foremost, cinematographer Michael Jari Davidson makes this $1 million picture look absolutely jaw-dropping. Largely filmed in Saskatchewan, the landscapes and scenery are just simply stunning. Then there’s praise for director Lowell Dean, who handles this story with a poise and precision that manages to keep a steady hand on the ever-expanding plot. Likewise, there’s plenty of praise to lavish on Dean and editor Tim Thurmier for how SuperGrid never feels stale or stagnant despite covering so much literal and proverbial ground.
So often over the years, any movie with a loose post-apocalyptic vibe to it can feel so-so, rehashed, or simply soulless. With SuperGrid, we have something that bucks that trend. Stunning to look at, grim when needed, action aplenty, and littered with fantastic performances, this is a picture that may sadly fly under the radar of many but is something that is certainly worth hunting down.
SUPERGRID / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: LOWELL DEAN / SCREENPLAY: T.R. McCAULEY, JUSTIN LUDWIG / STARRING: LEO FAFARD, MARSHALL WILLIAMS, NATALIE KRILL, JONATHAN CHERRY, JAY RESO / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 14TH (CANADA), TBC (UK)