2018, NR, 87 min. Directed by Mark Dennis, Ben Foster. Starring Andrew Wilson, Cassidy Gifford, Brianne Howey, Reiley McClendon, Olivia Draguicevich, Max Wright.
REVIEWED By Danielle White, Fri., Nov. 9, 2018
Judging by the first 20 minutes or so of Time Trap, no one could blame you for thinking that maybe this is not such a good film. Filmed in the Hill Country, an archaeology professor named Hopper (Wilson) sets out to find some missing hippies, who disappeared in the Seventies while searching for the mystical Fountain of Youth. Two of the professor’s students, Jackie (Howey) and Taylor (McClendon), catch wind of what he’s doing and, after teaming up with Taylor’s maybe-girlfriend Cara (Gifford), her little sister Veeves (Draguicevich), and Veeves’ friend – OMG, hello Nineties – Furby (Wright), set out after him when he goes missing after two days. This first act is the shoddiest part of the film. The acting is as flat as the characters – the two blondes are nearly indistinguishable, apart from the fact that one is perky and the other cries a lot. Though they don’t have much to work with; the dialogue is rather wooden and perfunctory. The (over)use of voiceover is echo-y and off; it sounds like they’re in another room. Furby is a Goonies Chunk lookalike (which the film self-references) but he’s even more repulsive reimagined as a horndog, constantly flirting with Jackie and making sexual overtones which I guess are supposed to be funny and endearing because he’s a little kid. It seems like a lazy way of creating comedy and/or tension in the first scenes of the film, and it cheats the characters out of any type of development. It’s also just gross. Call me a stick in the mud, but I need my horror sci-fi to be just as woke as any other type of entertainment, perhaps even more so.
All that being said, the film isn’t a total piece of trash. It’s a little bit like Rip Van Winkle meets Back to the Future. The concept is actually highly intriguing. I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a reimagining of the Fountain of Youth that involves the theory that time’s not real, or at least not universal. (Philip K. Dick fans, take heed!) The fact that each character has a camera on them at all times creates an interesting storytelling angle and gives an element of horror via Blair Witch Project-esque found footage. If anything, there’s wasted potential with the plot and story development. And, of course, some logistical points that don’t make sense. But it’s also really short. Most films that traffic in such heady subjects are, like, three hours long. An anxiety-ridden contemplation on history and mortality simply needs more time.
Director Ben Foster will be in attendance for a Q&A after the Nov. 9 screening at Alamo Meuller.