Time Trap (2017)

Time Trap

I love being surprised by smaller films like Time Trap. This film was made on an estimated $1,000,000 budget and turned out to be remarkably good. While not perfect, the film was still able to keep me engaged and entertained with its intriguing premise, decent acting and some above average special effects.

Explaining too much of the plot of Time Trap would ruin the film, though the trailers spoil some of it – so, if you haven’t seen the trailers, don’t go watching them. The movie opens with Professor Hopper (Andrew Wilson doing an astounding impersonation of Dennis Quaid) finding the minivan of a hippie couple from the 1970s. He spots a cave while exploring around the van and when he visits the cave he sees a cowboy, gun drawn, walking into the cave slowly. He heads back into town to get climbing gear to head back to the cave system. When he leaves and doesn’t come back, two of his students Taylor (Reiley McClendon) and Jackie (Brianne Howey) head out to find him – they take along friends, Cara (Cassidy Gifford), Veeves (Olivia Draguicevich) and Furby (Max Wright).

The students and friends climb down a different entrance to the cave system and from there all hell breaks loose. As the film progresses, things get crazier and crazier. I commend the writer (Mark Dennis) and directors (Mark Dennis and Ben Foster) for this escalation of craziness and their unabashed embrace of it. It is this lunacy that makes the film so entertaining.

The cast of the film all do a decent job, though no one really stood out. The score for the film by Xiaotian Shi works well with the film and never rises to overtake what is happening onscreen.

There are minor issues throughout the film, but they don’t really take away from the film much. The way that the students and friends act later in the film when they start encountering others is bizarre. The film runs less than 90 minutes long and actually moves at a pace that makes the 90 minutes feel even shorter. Having said that, there are some pacing issues with the film, especially when it becomes a bit exposition heavy – the Furby vlog at the beginning being the major offender.

There is a lot of promise in this script and a good portion of that promise is lost – the film feels smaller than what it could have been. And given the limited budget, I can totally understand. Though, I am left to wonder what this film could have been like had it been given a larger budget – not a Christopher Nolan type budget, but one that is 2-3 times larger.

Overall, I really enjoyed the film. This film shows that a $1 million film can easily be more entertaining than summer blockbuster films made on a $100 million budget – are those $100 million budget films 100 times more entertaining? Nope. I’d rather have 100 films like Time Trap. Time Trap is well worth a watch.

Watched at home, streamed on Netflix.

Spoilers

I really loved how the writer made use of the premise of time dilation throughout the film. The professor did touch on the subject that there were two layers of time dilation within the cave system to protect the fountain of youth. The second wall of time dilation making it almost impossible to take any of the fountain of youth out of the cave system. This left me wondering: Who put into place these walls that creates the time dilation? The walls were obviously there for a very long time given that there are cavemen in the cave system from millions of years ago. Or were they just naturally there?

Cavemen, cowboys, Conquistadors, future humans, time dilation, the fountain of youth, space stations, Mars colonies and more! How much could they squeeze into 90 minutes? Apparently a lot – and it all works out.

I am curious what happened to Earth – did humans finally kill Earth? I also wonder how far the humans ended up into the future – my guess is maybe 3000-4000 years.

So, while the super-evolved humans happily picked up 20th and 21st century humans and brought them onboard their ship via the robotic tentacles, there were two things that bothered me. First, the 20th and 21st century humans just lost their families and planet… but they are so damned happy to be going to Mars. I figure they’re going to need some therapy in the near future. Second, it seems that the 20th and 21st century humans are quite a discovery for the super-evolved humans and have been accepted for their uniqueness. So, why didn’t the super-evolved humans also bring along the cavemen? Or maybe they did, but have them somewhere else?

I liked that the film ended on a happy note instead of what could have been a very dark ending.


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