It’s an inauspicious beginning when I sat down to view the first film in the latest incarnation of the After Dark Horrorfest. You see, 2 years ago, I named BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2 one of the top 5 worst films of the year. So, the prospects for a third film in the franchise were dire to begin with.
Call it a case of measured expectations but to be honest BUTTERFLY EFFECT: REVELATIONS isn’t that bad a flick. Of course it scores major points for casting perennial Horrorfest actress Rachel Miner in a principal role. Miner is now a three-time Horrorfest alumni, previously appearing in 2007’s TOOTH & NAIL and 2006’s PENNY DREADFUL. But, if Miner is the veteran, then everyone else in comparison are fresh off the bus.
Written by first time scribe Holly Brix and Directed by Seth Grossman (whose resume is also pretty thin) the film stars Chris Carmack (The OC) as Sam Reed and Miner as his sister. Sam is a jumper (not to be confused with that terrible Hayden Christensen film). Like the central characters in all of the BUTTERFLY EFFECT films, Sam can transport himself back in time. He uses this gift to help the police solve murders—a penance he pays because 10-years earlier he was unable to stop the murder of his girlfriend. But one day, Sam is visited by his ex-girlfriend’s sister and he discovers that the wrong man may be sitting on death row. Unable to stop his feelings of guilt Sam jumps back to save her, but he fails, and inadvertently creates a chain reaction that brings about the birth of a serial killer. Now Sam must continue to jump back and forth through time as he tries to stop the killings. But every leap further complicates matters, and the police—who believe the actual murder is Sam—are closing in.
Like all of the BUTTERFLY EFFECT films, this one is also saddled with a plot that makes very little sense. The effect of movement through time seems to have only one constant rule; if you change the past, the future you return to is also changed. However, the film cheats this rule repeatedly by assuming certain things never change. Or, they only change when they are convenient to the storyline. Of course in a time travel film the suspension of disbelief is so strained that writers and directors can simply cover up plot holes with a phrase as motherly as “It happens that way because I said so”.
BUTTERFLY EFFECT: REVELATIONS might not be a necessary film. It certainly appears that someone loves the franchise enough to continue it on after the utter disaster of Part 2. And come on…compared to that film, this production is a 180 degree turnaround. It might not be the most compelling film to come along in years—but hey…the first BUTTERFLY EFFECT is hardly a classic by any stretch of the imagination. Still, REVELATONS—like that original—is a fairly entertaining way to kill 90-minutes of your life.