“Superior” captures the aesthetics of the late 70s / early 80s noir thriller with a low budget, retro feel that provides a callback to films of that era. The story is a very slow burn, but the mystery is intriguing enough to recommend to those interested in truly independent cinema.
Marian (Alessandra Mesa) is on the run from a violent situation. She returns to her small hometown to hide out with her estranged sister Vivian (Ani Mesa), whom she hasn’t seen in over 6 years. The women are identical twins but they’ve been living opposite lives. Vivian is a dutiful stay-at-home housewife with a husband (Jake Hoffman) who is desperate to have a baby. Marian is a musician with plenty of secrets to hide, and she is haunted by violent hallucinations that she’d rather leave buried. Her sudden return thrusts Vivian’s life into disarray as the two struggle to reconnect after so many years. At some point, Marian’s past catches up with her, and things suddenly turn dangerous for both of the sisters.
Director Erin Vassilopoulos plays a lot with the idea of identity and as the story progresses, it gets more confusing as to which sister is Vivian and which is Marian. They do the old switcheroo where Marian stays home and Vivian goes to her sister’s job at the local ice cream shop. They seem to enjoy “playing” each other and switching places, until it nearly kills them.
“Superior” may not be the most original movie, but it is a well-made, satisfying homage to thrillers of the past.