REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 3: REVELATIONS

CAST

Chris Carmack (Into The Blue 2)
Rachel Miner (Supernatural)
Melissa Jones (Retardead)
Kevin Yon (What IF..)
Lynch R. Travis (Dogman)
Sarah Habel (Hostel: Part 3)
Mia Serafino (Oz The Great and Powerful)

Sam Reide (Chris Carmack) witnesses a woman being killed, then wakes up in an ice-filled bathtub, his vitals being monitored by his sister Jenna (Rachel Miner). Sam can travel back to any time and location during his lifetime (occupying the body of that time in his life), needing only to concentrate on where and when he wishes to arrive. He has helped the local police capture criminals under the guise of being a psychic. Sam pays his sister Jenna’s rent and buys her groceries, and that she rarely leaves the apartment and lives in squalor. Later that night, Elizabeth (Sarah Habel), the sister of Sam’s murdered girlfriend Rebecca (Mia Serafino), arrives at Sam’s apartment. She believes that the man about to be executed for her sister’s murder, Lonnie Flennons (Richard Wilkinson), is innocent, and she offers to pay Sam to find the real murderer. Sam turns her down, but goes to speak with the man who tutored him on time travel, Goldburg (Kevin Yon), who reminds him of the cardinal rules: he’s not to alter his own personal past, nor travel in time with his body left unsupervised. When Sam was 15, a house fire claimed Jenna’s life, but Sam altered time so that Jenna survives. However, Sam’s interference with events resulted in the fire killing his parents instead. After Goldburg’s departure, their bartender Vicki (Melissa Jones) seductively offers Sam a seductively-named cocktail; he and Vicki have sex, but upon seeing Rebecca’s photo, he cannot continue.

Sam changes his mind and agrees to help Elizabeth out. He tries to help Lonnie without time-traveling, but Lonnie refuses the help, believing Sam to be the culprit. Frustrated, Sam travels back to June 1998. He first runs into a drunk Elizabeth, and tells her to stay in her locked car. He goes into Rebecca’s bedroom to find her already dead; meanwhile, Elizabeth is attacked in her car from behind and killed. Sam returns to the present, to learn he no longer owns a car, is renting his couch to a roommate named Paco (Ulysses Hernandez), and no longer works for the police. Instead, he is an obsessed former suspect for Rebecca’s murder who has repeatedly asked for the case file. He goes to see Lonnie, who in this present is a wheelchair-bound lawyer. He tells Sam he had driven by, saw Elizabeth and Sam talking, and did not stop. Sam visits Goldburg, who suggests he go back to the scene of the third murder and this time only observe. Sam also visits Jenna, who is significantly better off and living more cleanly; she refuses to help him.

Sam travels back to September 2000 and witnesses the third victim, Anita Barnes (Chantel Giacalone), being attacked, only to learn it is her boyfriend attempting to cater to her rape fetish. He is discovered and her boyfriend’s punch sends him back to the present, where now Sam is renting a couch from Paco, who is about to evict him for non-payment. Goldburg is missing, and Lonnie is now the third victim, while Anita remains alive, pepper-spraying Sam in the face after he approaches her in the street. At her apartment, Jenna tells Sam that Goldburg was about to implicate him in the murders, and furthermore tells him she fears a future Sam is the murderer. Sam complains he is now “too stupid” to fix things; Jenna pinky-swears him to not time-travel anymore. Drunk at the bar, Sam propositions Vicki, who is engaged in this timeline. After Sam leaves, the killer shows up and murders Vicki; her body is found by the police near a car body plant. As Sam left his bar receipt behind, he is hauled in by the police. Jenna extricates him; the police put a tail on him as he leaves. As he leaves, he takes Det. Glenn’s (Lynch Travis) evidence notebook, which he uses to look at the scene of the crime and travel back to September 2004, before the bodies were found by the police.He returns to the present to find himself on Jenna’s couch as she leaves for work, reminding him to clean up after himself and have dinner ready for her return; their positions now effectively reversed from the beginning of the film. Sam returns to the auto plant, where the police lie in wait to arrest him. Sam convinces Det. Glenn to release him by telling him how his wife (Andrea Foster) mistook Glenn for M.C. Hammer on their first meeting. Returning home, Sam accidentally inhales some burundanga flowers, sent from Goldburg’s greenhouse, and can barely haul himself into the bathtub, before time-traveling back to the abandoned auto plant, where he finds a severely injured Goldburg. Running for help, Sam is felled by a foothold trap.

The killer approaches the trapped Sam, removing his mask as he does so, to reveal that the killer is actually Sam’s sister Jenna, who can also time travel. She has an incestuous love for her brother, having killed the women, either because she perceived them as rivals for Sam’s affections, or because they were new witnesses, introduced by Sam’s rescue attempts. Sam travels back in time to the day of the fire that killed his parents; instead of saving Jenna (Catherine Towne), he traps her in her burning room. He awakes in a new timeline where he has married Elizabeth (not Rebecca), and he, Elizabeth and their daughter Jenna (named after his now-dead sister) (Alexis Sturr) are pulling up to a family barbecue, where he is greeted by his parents and a perfectly healthy Goldburg. The film closes as Sam’s daughter Jenna puts her fashion doll on the grill and smiles as it begins to melt.

This is a recommended thriller, especially if you are a fan of the original. It tries to do something different by adding the element of a serial killer into the mix and gives the protagonist much more stake in the movie rather than just saving the life of a loved one.

 

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REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2

CAST

Eric Lively (American Pie)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Dustin Milligan (Shark Night)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon 2007)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
David Lewis (Bates Motel)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Susan Hogan (Phobia)
Lindsay Maxwell (Jingle All The Way 2)

Julie (Erica Durance) and her boyfriend, Nick (Eric Lively), are celebrating Julie’s 24th birthday with their friends Trevor (Dustin Milligan) and Amanda (Gina Holden). Julie and Nick start to discuss their future when Nick is called in to work, urgently. He has to go to the meeting because he is up against co-worker Dave (David Lewis) for a promotion. As the four friends drive back to the city there’s an accident with a semi-truck. Of the four friends, Nick is the only survivor. Later, when looking at a photograph of himself and Julie, everything in the room begins to shudder and shake, while the people in the photograph begin moving. One year later, Nick suffers a blinding headache and nosebleed at work, while presenting an important sales pitch to investors. As a result he is given a week’s suspension. Back home, Nick looks at photographs from Julie’s birthday and somehow manages to transport himself back to the moment just before the fatal accident. This time, he knows how to avoid the accident and he awakens in a new timeline where Julie is living happily with him. However, in this reality, Nick’s life is ruined when he is fired for backing up his friend and now work colleague Trevor.Later, Nick sees a Christmas photograph of him, his friends and work colleagues, and realizes that this was the point at which a crucial deal was made, resulting in Dave’s promotion. Nick decides to try to alter this in his favor, so he concentrates on the photo in order to trigger another episode. Sure enough, he finds himself at the party. After deliberately spilling a drink on Dave to distract him he finds the paperwork for the crucial deal. He then returns to the present in a new version of reality. In this reality, Nick is the vice-president of the company, but he and Julie have split up and he is living the bachelor lifestyle. Also, Trevor and Nick end up on the wrong side of a shady investor, and the company is broke. Nick confesses everything to his mother, who tells him that he can’t ‘control everything’. She says his father also tried to control things and ultimately committed suicide.

Nick transports himself to the scene from the start of the movie, hoping to finally fix everything by breaking up with Julie. However, he didn’t bank on how upset she would be – and she confesses to being pregnant and speeds away in his car. Fearing a similar accident as the original, Nick speeds after her, but ends up facing an oncoming vehicle himself. He opts to save Julie rather than himself and drives off the cliff. One year later, Julie lives in New York with her son, Nick Jr., who has the same affliction as his father, since his environment becomes unstable while looking at a photograph of his parents and their friends.I really liked the first film. It was a bit of an original concept. I was skeptical when I stumbled across Butterfly Effect 2 thinking it must be bad if I didn’t know there was a second film. However, I decided to give it  a go. I am pleased I did as I think it was another clever film.

REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
William Lee Scott (October Sky)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Cameron Bright (Twilight: New Moon)
Melora Walters (Ed Wood)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)

Growing up, Evan Treborn and his friends, Lenny and siblings Kayleigh and Tommy Miller, suffered many severe psychological traumas that frequently caused Evan to black out. These traumas include being coerced to take part in child pornography by Kayleigh and Tommy’s father, George Miller (Eric Stoltz), being nearly strangled to death by his institutionalized father, Jason Treborn (Callum Keith Rennie), who is then killed in front of him by guards; accidentally killing a mother and her infant daughter while playing with dynamite with his friends; and seeing his dog being burned alive by Tommy.Seven years later, while entertaining a girl in his dorm room, Evan discovers that when he reads from his adolescent journals, he can travel back in time and redo parts of his past. His time traveling episodes account for the frequent blackouts he experienced as a child, since those are the moments that his adult self occupied his conscious, such as the moment his father strangled him when he realizes that Evan shares his time-traveling affliction. However, there are consequences to his revised choices that dramatically alter his present life. For example, his personal time-line leads to alternative futures in which he finds himself, variously, as a college student in a fraternity, an inmate imprisoned for murdering Tommy, and a double amputee. Eventually, he realizes that, even though his intentions to fix the past are good, his actions have unforeseen consequences, in which either he or at least one of his friends does not benefit. Moreover, the assimilation of dozens of years’ worth of new memories from the alternative timelines causes him brain damage and severe nosebleeds. He ultimately reaches the conclusion that he and his friends might not have good futures as long as he keeps altering the past, and he realizes that he is hurting them rather than helping.Evan travels back one final time to the day he first met Kayleigh as a child. He intentionally upsets her so that she and Tommy will choose to live with their mother, in a different neighborhood, instead of with their father when they divorce. As a result, they aren’t subjected to a destructive upbringing, don’t grow up with Evan, and go on to have happy, successful lives. Evan awakens in a college dorm room, where Lenny is his roommate. As a test, he asks where Kayleigh is, to which Lenny responds “Who’s Kayleigh?”. Knowing that everything is all right this time, Evan burns his journals and videos to avoid altering the timeline ever again.Eight years later in New York City, an adult Evan exits an office building and passes by Kayleigh on the street. Though a brief look of recognition passes over both of their faces, they both decide to keep walking.

Directors’ cut

The director’s cut features a notably different ending. With his brain terribly damaged and aware that he is about to be committed to a psychiatric facility where he will lose access to his time travel ability, Evan makes a desperate attempt to change the timeline by travelling back to his pre-birth self (by viewing a family film of his father’s), where he strangles himself in the womb with his umbilicus so as to prevent the multi-generational curse from continuing, consistent with an added scene where a fortune teller describes Evan to Evan and his mother as “having no lifeline” and “not belonging to this world”. Kayleigh is then seen as a child in the new timeline having chosen to live with her mother instead of her father, and a montage suggests that the lives of the other childhood characters have become loving and less tragic.

Despite mixed reviews prior to seeing this, I thought this film was an absolute gem. The cast were well introduced at the start and you were led thru the film with mysterious gaps which were filled later on, shocking the audience at times. Subject matter was occasionally difficult but this made it all the more believeable in our hero’s responses. Anything that offers a temporal paradox allows the mind to fulfil the ‘whatif’ question. It gets you thinking but this movie was difficult to 2nd guess which in my view makes for a great and unpredictable film