J.J. Abrams' nostalgic monster movie Super 8 sticks close to producer Steven Spielberg's playbook: kids vs. skeptical adults, shady military personnel, a young protagonist raised by a single parent, and a deliberate build-up to the big reveal.
In 1979, a group of kids from suburban Ohio are making a zombie movie when they witness a spectacular train accident. Soon strange things are happening around town: missing dogs, stolen appliances, power outages, and a shadowy creature snatching up folks.
Super 8 fondly recalls a time when Famous Monsters of Filmland still mattered to middle-school boys. These old-school shadings are the centerpiece of the movie; it isn't about blood, guts, and severed limbs. Super 8 promises more than it delivers, but Abrams gets in the spirit of the era with equal doses of heart, humor, and suspense. --Michael Gallucci