When a group of college students—and two tweens named Veeves and Furby, brought along for specious reasons—head into a mysterious cave system to find a beloved professor, himself searching for a group of hippies who disappeared years before, they discover underground time is not the same as surface time. And then shit gets real weird.
That’s the basic set up for Mark Dennis and Ben Fosters’ (not that Ben Foster—I wonder how sick he is of hearing that?) new science fiction adventure, Time Trap, which makes its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival. But that doesn’t really do the justice. This is a prime example of a movie doing a lot with relatively little. The filmmakers make the most of what they have to work with and aren’t afraid to crank up the crazy meter at regular intervals. I'm just saying, it involves cave men, conquistadors, and dudes from the future.
Time Trap kicks off with students Taylor (Reiley McClendon, The Fosters) and Jackie (Brianne Howey, The Exorcist) enlisting the help, and truck, of Cara (Cassidy Gifford, The Gallows) to find Hopper (Andrew Wilson, Rushmore), their favorite archeology professor who has gone missing. They also bring along the aforementioned Veeves (Olivia Draguicevich) and her annoying sort-of friend Furby (Max Wright). No one is going to win any acting awards, but they’re passable as good-looking college kids and the obnoxious adolescent letch that is Furby ultimately provides more emotional punch than you might initially expect.
What follows is a continual escalation of genre mayhem. It’s apparent early on that time passes differently underground than on the surface, even if it takes the characters a while to figure it out. Foster and Dennis ratchet up the tension as the kids face one unexpected turn after another and the plot moves in legitimately startling ways. With a breakneck pace, Time Trap mixes in a little Land of the Lost, a healthy dose of hard sci-fi, hints of claustrophobic adventure, and enough off-the-wall WTF moments that the viewer can only wonder what the hell is coming next.
The biggest things Time Trap has going for it are a clever concept, brisk tempo, and filmmakers willing to get absolutely nutty when necessary. Every time the plot appears to settle into a groove, there’s a needle scratch moment and something bizarre occurs. It’s cheap and hokey at times, but that only enhances the overall wing-nut B-movie feel. It all adds up to an imaginative, weird-as-hell adventure that constantly one-ups itself. Time Trap has the makings of a perfect future midnight movie. [Grade: B]
Entanglement makes its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival on Friday, May 19.