Sometimes a horror movie has ambition beyond just setting up scares and wants to give a puzzle for the viewer to unravel so they can have that “ah ha” moment. Sometimes it works out really well, such as when we reviewed The House at the End of Time for Horrortoberfest last year. Other times, like is the case in this film, they end up trying perhaps a bit too hard on making the puzzle complex. There are a ton of different weird things that go on in the movie and while most of it gets explained; much of how the movie plays out just raises more questions. Since the whole deal with the movie is in the reveal, I will definitely getting into spoilers. Fair warning.
Our story starts out, as so many horror films do, with a group of young, attractive 20-somethings heading to a remote cabin in the woods. They seem to be a bit lost and end up getting run off the road at one point to avoid hitting someone and this ends up causing enough damage that they have to hoof it to the cabin. Once there, they discover an abandoned mine with a strange warning written outside saying “break the cycle” but who can possibly resist crawling around in a place that might collapse on you? One of the friends is a medium and she begins to have visions that something is wrong. That’s when they find several of their own dead bodies in the mine. Things get weirder from there.
I’ll go ahead and spoil the big reveal for you know, if you hadn’t guessed it already. They are in a time loop and the bodies they find prompt them to lock up their one friend with mental illness since that is obviously who is going to kill them. Then he does kill them because they locked him up and then he warns past him about what future them are going to do which in turn causes him to freak out when they go to lock him up and on and on. At first, this seems like a fun cool thing with this time loop murder scenario but the more I pick at what happened in the film the more I realize a lot of shit doesn’t make sense. The big question is, of course, where is the origin point for the murders since he only kills people because they try to lock him up when they find the bodies that alternate him has killed? The film heavily talks about the Ouroboros, though, so I can almost forgive that obvious issue since they are going more for a closed loop and that’s just how it is and there is no beginning or end to it.
Little things, however, make no sense. At some point the friends that the group were waiting on get killed in their RV. Turns out that when the guy that goes crazy kills his friends, he also magically knows where they are and wants to kill them because…reasons? Also, in the very beginning of the film there is a paper with the “Couple Found Murdered in RV” headline that only makes sense once you get to the part where you see it’s a time loop but even then, they wouldn’t be killed until at earliest the night after that paper would be out for them to find. Also, one of the friends was hit by the van when they went off the road because obviously the person they swerved to avoid was one of them as well because time loop. However, the end of the movie has her limping up to the van from the start of the movie thus “breaking the cycle” as they were told. Except nothing changed in this loop as opposed to any other which would make it so she would somehow be able to make it down to them. It feels like a weird, cheap cop-out.
This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the movie. It was genuinely fun to see how they were going to tie all the loose ends together in the time looping even if they didn’t do a great job of it. I’d give the movie a 3 out of 5. It’s got decent enough acting and plot and is different enough that it manages to be enjoyable if you aren’t thinking too hard about it.
Favorite thing in the movie: The initial discovery of the bodies. I totally wasn’t expecting a weird time horror thing and that made for an interesting reveal.
Least favorite thing: The ending has killer camping out with a version of himself and one of the friends locked in a room with another copy of herself. Which begs the question, how many loops has this been and shouldn’t there really be way more of these? And where were the doubles at the start? What the hell, movie?