Superior Trailer: Noir Retro Thriller Gives De Palma and Almodóvar Vibes

Erin Vassilopoulos’s moody and stylish Sundance debut feature “Superior” is a spiritual sequel to her 2015 short film of the same name. Both revolve around twin sisters trying to distinguish themselves from one another, and they’re played by Alessandra Mesa and Ani Mesa. This throwback thriller serves up ’80s vibes and Brian De Palma-esque thrills. Exclusive to IndieWire, watch the trailer for the film below.

Back at Sundance 2021, “Superior” was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize during the virtual festival. Here’s the synopsis, courtesy of the distributor, Factory 25:

Erin Vassilopoulos’ stylish debut feature is a noir throwback exploring identity and deception. When Marian is on the run, she goes to the only place she knows is safe: her childhood home. She is greeted by her estranged sister, Vivian, a stay-at-home housewife struggling to conceive and on the verge of a failing marriage. Though the two are identical twins, they live opposite lives. Marian’s mysterious return disrupts Vivian’s small-town routine, and the sisters must learn to reconnect and reconcile. When Marian’s haunting past finally catches up to her, their separate worlds collide, catapulting both sisters into grave danger.

The film was roundly praised upon its 2021 virtual Park City debut. Variety’s Jessica Kiang wrote, “The moody atmospherics remain inventively idiosyncratic throughout, from DP Mia Cioffi Henry’s textured, warm-grained 16mm photography, to Jessica Moss’ excellent, echoey score, enhanced with occasional uncanny nonverbal vocals, and on through to the woozy, bluesy rhythms of the editing, handled by Jenn Ruff and Vassilopoulos herself. It all combines somehow, despite the 1980s setting, into filmmaking that most recalls that of the early ’90s, when off-kilter indie noirs had a moment: ‘Superior’ feels like a John Dahl movie given a ‘Twin Peaks’ vibe on a Hal Hartley budget, with just the odd dash of Old Hollywood thrown in for good measure, like the deliberately ‘Rear Window’-aping, flashbulb-popping finale.”

Factory 25 will release the film March 25 at BAM Cinemas in New York followed by a nationwide expansion. A digital version of the film, as well as a limited edition Blu-ray, will be available later in the summer of this year.

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