Superposition - FrightFest Halloween UK Premiere
Director: Karoline Lyngbye
Starring: Marie Bach Hansen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Mihlo Olsen
Written by: Karoline Lyngbye, Mikkel Bak Sørenson
Produced by: Amalie Lyngbo Quist
Cinematography by: Sine Vadstrup Brooker
Original Score by: Pessi Levanto
Stine and Teit and their young son Nemo leave their urban life in Copenhagen behind in favour of an isolated forest in Sweden, where they hope to find themselves as individuals but end up finding something sinister.
What makes the idea of meeting your doppelgänger scary? Is it that we’ve never truly seen our own face with our own eyes? Is it that the mind can't comprehend how such a thing is possible? Or is it that we know there’s someone else who knows all your deepest, darkest secrets? It’s a distressing thought and one that’s been explored many times in other horror movies, such as 'US', 'The Night House' and 'The Hole in the Ground' (all films that Superposition takes visual references from). What sets 'Superposition' apart from the rest is that it focuses on a married couple on the verge of divorce. When in a relationship, it’s easy to compare your own relationship to someone else's, but what if the relationship you’re comparing your own to is a parallel version of yourself?
From the opening shots, it’s clear that first time director Karoline Lyngbye has a good eye for beautiful cinematography. The gorgeous vistas of the Swedish countryside are on full display with Lyngbye using the reflections of the lakes as a hint of what’s to come in the story. The stillness of the photography, especially when the characters are exploring the forests, creates an eerie feeling. I often found myself searching the frame to see if there was someone or something hiding in the trees. Lyngbye also handles the actors well, often having to deal with the same actor playing against themselves for half the movie. The blocking of their movement is on point and never feels like the same actor isn’t talking to themselves.
Marie Bach Hansen and Mikkel Boe Folsgaard play Stine and Teit respectfully, and both do a fantastic job. The true drama is in watching their marriage barely holding itself together, and when put in a situation of having to deal with their own doppelgangers, it’s interesting to see how the husband and wife come at the problem from different directions. You can feel the resentment between the two characters in their body language and it’s sometimes hard to watch them interact because you can just feel an underlying hatred for each other. Even if the sci-fi element didn’t come into the plot, I still would have enjoyed just watching this as a straight drama.
My only real issue with the film is that it’s sort of predictable when it comes to its twists. Like I said before, the drama aspect of the film is enough to carry the story, so when the sci-fi elements start to come into play, they kind of bring that original appeal of the drama to a halt. You know what’s going to happen from the opening shots, there is no real subversion of the usual Doppelgänger story. There are multiple times when you think it’s going to go off and take a very dark turn but they never truly take the risk. Even the ending of the film, which hints at a dark ending, could have gone even darker for my liking. There is no repercussion for how selfish the characters have been, even though they’ve an easy set up to have one. The story feels like something from 'The Twilight Zone' yet lacks the moral tale that usually comes with a story like that.
'Superposition' is an excellent family drama that’s shot beautifully and extremely well-acted yet held back by its own sci-fi elements. I’d love to see director Karoline Lyngbye create more drama-based films and leave the genre stuff behind. It's fun to work in the genre sandbox sometimes, but not everybody's style is suited to it.
- Adam Neeson
'Superposition' received its UK Premiere at FrightFest Halloween on October 28th