Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Superposition Review A Character Driven Doppelgänger Thriller

In the film Superposition, city dwellers Stine (Marie Bach Hansen) and Teit (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) trade Copenhagen for Sweden. Their young son Nemo (Mihlo Olsen) and their dog Tarzan are in tow. As Stine tries to overcome her writer’s block at their isolated cabin in the woods, Teit conceives a podcast documenting their year-long stay. No matter how far they get away from the big city, the couple cannot escape the problems in their relationship. In due time, Karoline Lyngbye’s first long feature presents another obstacle for the main characters, albeit a more unusual one. This new challenge is scary at first, but it ultimately has healing properties.

After a slow start, the pace picks up once Stine loses sight of Nemo in the woods. The son is quickly found, but now the parents have themselves a reversal of the classic changeling scenario. As the child insists the protagonists are not his parents, the film shows the first real sign of its uncanny element. There are also these supposed strangers across the way who are expected to encroach on the couple’s property at some point. Eventually, the characters figure into the story more uniquely. 


This is not a mere home invasion film, although it includes some of the subgenre’s familiar tropes. The story takes place far and away from the characters’ usual surroundings, the characters suspect they are being watched and/or stalked, and previous cracks in the domestic relationship are exposed as well as mended by the life-threatening situation at hand. What makes this film stand out is Karoline Lyngbye and Mikkel Bak Sørensen’s execution. The director and her co-writer indeed have Stine and Teit charging into action when they feel threatened; however, that is a fleeting moment. As soon as the couple makes the realization that the figures they spotted earlier are, in fact, their doubles, Superposition gradually transforms into more of a relationship drama than a full-fledged supernatural story.

Superposition uses a classic horror setup to reel in the audience. And for some of them, the creepy woods, the vanishing strangers, and some mild suspense are all enough to qualify this as horror. Once the doppelgänger aspect is no longer ambiguous, the film exchanges action for character study. Not everyone will like the change, yet the writing makes up for that. As Stine and Teit get over the initial shock of discovering they have these exact lookalikes – such lookalikes accuse them of abducting their son- Superposition settles into what Lyngbye envisioned all along. Using genre as a starting point, the filmmaker crafts an intriguing story about people’s many layers and how their compatibility with others can change over time.

Superposition risks coming across as too bait-and-switch and convoluted, especially if someone was anticipating a much more straightforward doppelgänger thriller. The lack of answers regarding the story’s physics adds to the mild frustration. Nevertheless, the film is compelling, thanks to its dynamic performances and character-driven approach to genre filmmaking.

Superposition was screened as part of the 27th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN).

3 skulls out of 5

Superposition poster

The post ‘Superposition’ Review – A Character Driven Doppelgänger Thriller appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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