Last night my wife and I watched “Time Lapse”, a 2014 sci-fi thriller, directed by Bradley King, who also co-wrote the movie with BP Cooper.
Finn (Matt O’Leary – “Mother’s Day”, “Sorority Row”) is a frustrated artist who wants to spend his time painting but has a creative block. He is employed as the manager of the small housing complex where he lives.
He shares his apartment with his somewhat neglected girlfriend, waitress / aspiring writer Callie (Danielle Panabaker – “Mr. Brooks”, “Piranha 3DD”) and best friend, gambling addict Jasper (George Finn – “Tbilisis, I Love You”, “LOL”).
One day they are asked to check on the elderly scientist tenant, Mr. B., in the apartment overlooking theirs, as he hasn’t paid his rent for two months. Callie goes to check on him, but there is no sign of him. She calls Finn and Jasper over to Mr. B’s apartment, though, having discovered that there is a strange looking machine that produces a polaroid photograph of the view through their living room window and a wall covered with a collection of past photographs.
The three figure out that the machine is taking a photograph at 8 P.M. each day. There are night-time and daytime photographs on Mr. B’s wall, but they guess that he must have re-set the machine to just take evening shots.
Delving a little deeper they find some journal notes left by Mr. B. in which he has written of his fears for his future based on what he has seen in the photographs, and then discover his strangely charred body in his storage unit where he appears to have gone to try to avoid whatever it is he saw.
Later they realise that the photograph that comes out of the machine that same evening somehow shows the party they are due to have in their apartment the following evening. They realise that the photos show what happens in their living room 24 hours into the future. Jasper can now write himself notes so he knows which bets to place to make them all some money, Finn is now able see the paintings that he is going to paint and Callie can give up her day job to focus on her writing. They all agree not to report Mr. B’s death to the police so that they can make use of the machine for as long as possible.
It’s not long, however, before the trio’s plan begins to unravel as greed, desire, jealousy, manipulation and even murder enter the frame.
Overall, a nice independent thriller with a well plotted and performed story. The three lead characters all play their parts convincingly, especially as their relationships shift and stutter under the weight of circumstances. There are subtle clues throughout that are pointing towards what is otherwise an unexpected twist at the end, but whether you pick up on them or not, the end of the film was very well handled.