Time travel: so much fun even dead people do it (#SFWApro)

7043THE HAUNTER (2013) starts off with its teenage protagonist already in the middle of a time loop, except details will randomly change (her father takes up smoking) from one day to the next. It turns out, however, that a serial killer who murdered the family has trapped her in his personal netherworld, so that doesn’t qualify for the book. However it is very entertaining and worth catching; I suspect Nightmare on Elm Street was a strong influence. “You have to wake up—we all do.” (all rights to image with current holder)

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL (2014), to my surprise, does qualify even though it has a similar premise, a protagonist trapped in Hell and forced to relive the murder of his spouse over and over. However in this case, the protagonist is actually able to burst out and alter his past actions—though not in the ways he thinks—so yes, it’s time travel. Surprisingly good, particularly the lead’s horrified realization how much his perceptions differ from reality. “There’s this place and what’s on the other side of that door—and that’s all there will ever be for you.”

THE HALLOWEEN TREE (1993) is Ray Bradbury’s uninspired animated fantasy wherein a sinister psychopomp (Leonard Nimoy) takes a group of trick-or-treaters across the time to learn the Secret Origins of mummies, gargoyles, and witches (“Witch was an old word for “wits”—witches were simply people smarter than everyone else.”). Forgettable but I’m still surprised I actually forgot this movie existed until recently. “Why do you wear bones, skeleton?”

FLIGHT WORLD WAR II (2015) makes me wonder if The Asylum isn’t shifting into general low-budget moviemaking rather than mockbusters, as this story of an airline flying through a time warp into WW II doesn’t appear to be riffing on anything more recent than The Final Countdown. While it’s better than that film, it’s also lacking in the drama of airplane films such as Zero Hour or High and the Mighty, and would make more sense as a parallel world (Dunkirk in this world was a disaster rather than a British triumph).  “We could change history, sure—but we could also screw it up.”

JUKO’S TIME MACHINE (2011) would double-bill well with The Infinite Man as it also involves an obsessive lover convinced he can find true love by going back in time until he gets it right, only to be bogged down when multiple incarnations of himself show up. Unfortunately this one isn’t terribly funny, and the protagonist comes off more obsessive than endearing. The complicated counterpart-juggling didn’t win me over either—in fact it makes me think one test of a movie is whether I care how all the timelines fit together. “If you lock eyes, the exponent goes to infinity.”

DOOMSDAY (2015) is a dull British film in which a refugee from a future cyborg tyranny (making Nemesis 2 an obvious double bill) joins forces with two present-day humans who react more as if they were stuck with an obnoxious tourist than anything cosmic. Picks up close to the end but not enough—and while I realize they’re trying to give the hero a corrupted kind of future-speak, “executor” doesn’t work as a substitute for “executioner.” Noteworthy for being absolute that History Cannot Change, so that the climax is one historically significant character being effectively invulnerable to the bad guys’ attacks. “All the clever people moved to Norway.”

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Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

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