SIFF Double Feature – Time Lapse and Beneath
Time Lapse: Apartment manager/painter Finn (Matt O’Leary) lives with girlfriend Callie (Danielle Panabaker) and best friend Jasper (George Finn). When their neighbor Mr. Bezzeredes goes missing, they check his apartment and find something amazing inside: a camera that takes pictures exactly 24 hours in the future. And the extremely large camera is pointing directly at their living room window. The group finds Mr. Bezzeredes’ experiment journal, and learns about his fears regarding any attempts to change the future; it was his belief that what gets represented in the photo must take place. Any attempt to change events will cause a future timeline that cannot happen, and those people will cease to exist. (Or something like that. Time paradoxes are always complicated to unravel.) His claims appear to be valid when the group discovers what happened to him and why he is missing. Jasper has a taste for gambling and encourages the others to see this for the money making opportunity that it is. Finn is entranced by the paintings he sees himself making and is easily talked into using the camera for personal gain. As the group struggles to re-create the scenes they see in the photos, tensions get high and things slowly spiral out of control.
This is a fun little movie. It’s director Bradley King’s first feature film, and he’s done a good job here. With small budget films, the script is probably the most important factor, and King and B.P. Cooper have a good one. The final reveal is maybe not as clever as they think it is, but it definitely works. Most of the performances are pretty strong, and Jason Spisak is pretty darn menacing as Jasper’s bookie, Ivan. The relationships between the characters are complicated, which is a nice change from most “roommates have an adventure” films. If I was going to have any complaints, it’s that I think it’s about 10 minutes too long. (I often think that though, so it is hardly specific to this film.) The pacing suffers a little in the middle, but not so much it gets tedious. Occasionally, the low budget makes itself felt, but for the most part, this is a pretty strong thriller.
Time Lapse plays May 31st and June 1st at SIFF Cinema Uptown.
Final Grade: B+
Beneath: Environmental Lawyer Sam (Kelly Noonan) is back home to celebrate her dad George’s (Jeff Fahey) retirement from coal mining. After making comments regarding some of the mine owner’s policies, Sam is dared by a few of the miners to go down for a day and get a real understanding of how hard they work. Against all expectations, Sam accepts the challenge and suits up the next day to go 600 feet below ground. Accompanying Sam as her minder is her old beau Randy (Joey Kern), who is tasked with making sure she makes it through the day safely.
At first everything seems to be fine; Sam is a little freaked out about being so far underground, but she bucks up and does her best to fit in and get her job done. In a different part of the mine a digging machine encounters troubles when it runs up against a hole in the wall and causes a cave-in. Stranded underground, the remaining miners are told it will be 72 hours before they can be rescued. They are instructed to go to the emergency shelter where there is oxygen and food that can sustain them for several days. This seems like a good idea until the miners hear screams from another tunnel branch. They leave to investigate and all hell breaks loose from there.
This is the scariest thing I’ve seen in awhile. It’s going to get a lot of comparisons to The Descent – taking place underground and all – and that’s cool. The spelunking scenes in The Descent scared the crap out of me, and this film also kept my blood pumping erratically to the end. It’s well paced and builds up to some really good scares. The lead, Kelly Noonan, does a good job of being both scared shitless and determined to go on. I haven’t seen her before, but I’d really like to see her in this kind of meaty role again. Also, Jeff Fahey is in this movie and he is awesome. I wasn’t really that into him when he was younger, but he’s really impressed me as he’s gotten older. He just has a great presence, and I know he’s going to bring something interesting to the table. I think this is director Ben Ketai’s first feature film and he does a really good job here. My only complaint is that it has the kind of ending I don’t like horror films to have. But I don’t get everything I want, and this far exceeded any expectations I might have had going into it.
Beneath plays at the SIFF Cinema Uptown on May 31st and June 1st.
Final Grade: B+