Time Lapse (2014) – A Review


A review of the 2014 sci-fi movie Time Lapse starring Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary and George Finn

Time Lapse 2014 sci-fi time travel movie

Three roommates discover their neighbor has invented a machine that can take pictures twenty-four hours into the future. With this mysterious device at their disposal they decide to use it for their own personal and financial gain. But when the images this camera soon starts to develop of the future become more and more disturbing and confusing it puts them in danger and not knowing if they can trust each other.

I went into this movie not knowing a thing about it only a short blurb of a synopsis I read. It sounded interesting. I’m a sucker for sci-fi, time travel-type movies. I didn’t have any lofty expectations, just a low-budget, hopefully intelligent sci-fi tale.  It ended up being a very Twilight Zone-ish setup and story in the first half that falls into a a series of idiotic decisions in the second half. It ultimately never fully delivers on the potential it had.

Things start out promising as the three roomies – boyfriend and girlfriend Finn (Matt O’Leary) and Callie (Danielle Panabaker) and Jasper (George Finn) – discover this bizarre machine in a neighbors apartment. They eventually discover this thing is a huge camera aimed at their apartment window and is timed to take a picture every 24-hours into the future. It spits out a polaroid and bam they can see their future in that window.

The idea of ‘what you would do’ with such a device is an engaging one. It’s something that sucks you into the story as the trio takes baby steps as they learn about the possibilities that are laying at their feet and how they go about manipulating them to their advantage. Guaranteed winning at gambling is of course towards the top of the list. That always seems to be a priority for movie characters.

Time Lapse sci-fi thriller 2014Initially it all looks like it will be smooth sailing and everyone is on the same page, but as things progress each character begins to have conflicting thoughts about what they glimpse on those polaroids. Trust begins to weigh on them that gets fueled by greed and jealousy. The story takes the Shallow Grave kind of route.

This is an interesting, fun idea, but gradually all that gets trumped by some really stupid decisions by these three. So stupid that I became increasingly aggravated with these characters.

Along with their dopey actions and the lackluster performances, I simply didn’t like any of these three. So when things start to go south I felt they deserved everything they had coming. There’s a lot of those ‘Oh come on!’ moments. I’d like to think I’d be a little bit smarter with a camera that takes pictures of the future.

When a suspicious bookie knocks at their door and it was clear this is the road the story was going to focus on I was disappointed. It’s a predictable, unexciting turn that chews up the rest of the movie. I had hoped this story would exploit its premise in a more unique exciting way. Although the ending has a pretty nice twist.

The film is mainly a one-location show, so writer/director Bradley King stretches the limited budget I’m sure he had to work with. And I especially liked the design of the camera. It looked more like something you would find in an industrial factory than a hi-tech, revolutionary powerhouse of a device. This isn’t one to rush out and watch. The concept is an intriguing one, but just don’t expect anything mind-blowing from it.


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