Rates: * * *
Why Did I Watch It? This popped up on my letterboxd feed and I had been meaning to catch it for a while.
Jess goes day sailing with some friends, a fun jaunt that is meant to last a few hours, and give her a needed break from her autistic son. Then! The ship is caught in a sudden, vicious storm and capsized. And! The survivors are stuck clinging to their overturned vessel, in the middle of theocean. But wait! Here comes a large, old fashioned, weirdly underpopulated, passenger liner. And lurking somewhere in the corridors…. what?
This fun, low budget psychological horror will engender a sense of deja vu in anyone who has seen ‘Timecrimes’, or even ‘Primer’. It’s another time loop movie, but a particular variant; one where the character repeats a perod of time, but each repeat leaves a new version of themselves that they can then interact with. And, not all of these copies wish each other well.
While the film is not that original (it also features the most ham-handed ‘Shining’ hat tip in history), it has a few factors in its favour. Melissa George, who got her start on ‘Home and Away’ and is now a veteran of American TV, is excellent as the traumatised Jess. It’s a part that allows her to show a nice range; from catatonic stupor, to terrified victim, to ass kicking agent of vengeance. It’s a shame she did not get more movie roles this good.
And the film has a nice sense of style, that produces some effectively creepy moments. While the ship exteriors are bad CGI (no doubt a budget issue), the interiors look like the corridors from the Hotel Earle in ‘Barton Fink’; eerily silent, and stretching away to infinity. Perfectly unsettling, even when nothing is happening. And there are some excellent, nightmarish visuals; the pile of bodies that shows one character lived the same death over and over, the villain/creature, with its dark blue boiler suit, and hessain sack with two cut holes for eyes.
You probably couldn’t track the logic of the different, intersecting realities, so there’s no point trying. What is more interesting is how the loop is triggered in the first place. The film is maybe suggesting that Jess is trapped, mentally, as a result of a traumatic incident. Something clearly happened with her son, and the boat trip and subsequent bloodbath COULD be her way of dealing with this, the repetitions showing that she cannot get over it.
Or, I could be giving the film too much credit. Still, this is a fun and undemanding house of mirrors with a great central performance and some effective jolts.