Three friends discover a mysterious machine that takes pictures 24hrs into the future and conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop.

Time Lapse is a darkly inventive, black as pitch science fiction film. Its central premise of a machine that predicts the future via a single photograph is designed to create chaos.  As you’re watching it you know something bad is gonna happen and when the shoe finally drops you can be assured the results are terrible and creative.

Bradley King’s directorial debut is a small film that blends horror and science fiction. Everything takes place in almost one location. Fortunately, King’s film stands above other low budget character pieces due to dynamite performances from leads Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary and George Finn.

Finn (O’Leary) is an absent minded artist whose life isn’t going as planned.  He lives in a small apartment with his girlfriend Callie (Panabaker) and his twitchy roommate Jasper (the other Finn).  As the audience, we are thrown into their world.  The three characters have a “unique” relationship and a weird energy together that I initially mistook to be a progressive sexual arrangement.  The film lives in the interplay between these three talented actors. Jasper is the wild card.  A bizarre, jumpy mess, he gambles uncontrollably with a nasty temper.  Finn is quiet and frustrated, lost in his own world.  Callie is the innocent girlfriend that looks after them both, cooking and working.

We learn that Finn is the handyman for the apartment complex they’re living in.  I’m not sure we ever find out what Jasper does for a living.  This initial character building sets the stage for decisions characters will make later.  The film quickly introduces us to a mysterious machine that can tell the future and from here things start slowly rolling downhill until the chaos is spinning wildly out of control.

Unfortunately there are leaps of logic in the film that seem to exist to serve the plot and directorial decisions like CGI blood wreak havok on atmosphere.  While I was absorbed in the film, the more I think about it the less I care for the characters and their intelligence.  I don’t want to give much away because I found the film to be fascinating.  Although the writing is a little weak in places, the acting elevates everything. You may recognize Danielle Panabaker from roles in either the Friday the 13th remake or possibly from the Crazies reboot.  She has always been a solid performer and here she is better than ever.  She plays a kind of cipher in the film.  You are never sure of her motives and she plays brilliantly off Finn and O’Leary.

The events in the film feel like a runaway train that you can’t stop.  Unfortunately there are poor choices in at least one of the action scenes involving CGI blood but for the most part the violence is quick and shocking.  While the film’s coda is absolutely chilling,  I’m not sure how much staying power it has.  I would recommend seeing Time Lapse though. In the end, it’s a pretty good movie and seems to indicate more than anything that its director will go on to make better movies.

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