The Butterfly Effect
Film review by: Witney Seibold
The actual butterfly effect, of chaos theory fame, has little to do with this film, so the title implies that film wants to be more far-reaching and high-minded than it actually is. As it stands, however, as a decent-if-utterly-ridiculous little thriller with a few good ideas and an interesting enough premise, it does o.k. It reminded me of the books of William Sleator, a young-adult sci-fi author whose works include Interstellar Pig and The Green Futures of Tycho. Cute little kid novels crammed with just enough science and time-travel theory to make the adventure/horror/tension seem to work.
Follow me a little closely: Evan (Logan Lerman at 8, John Patrick Amedori at 13, Aston Kutcher at twentysomething) is having a terrible childhood. He draws violent pictures in class, is forced to star in home movies by his best friend’s father (Eric Stoltz) a pederasty enthusiast, and is strangled by his father on a visit to a mental asylum. Later on, at 13, he hurts a few people rather badly. And, worst of all, he suffers from memory gaps, so he can’t remember any of the details of these horrors. In the present day, now a psychology student, those gaps are filling in. When Evan questions others about his reemerging memories, he just stirs up the old horror, and causes more misery. He soon discovers, however, through old diary pages, that he can somehow, in a science-fiction-y way, shunt his twentysomething consciousness into the memory gaps of his childhood, thereby rewriting his own history, and effecting the present. Every time he tries undoing one misery, however, in true “Twilight Zone” fashion, he causes a different one.
It’s a pretty neat premise from Eric Bress and J. Makye Gruber, the team behind the tepid “Final Destination 2.” There are huge gaps in logic, of course; time-travel flicks always have them. Like, if he changes the past, and gets a new set of memories to match the new present, how come he can’t remember small details? But never mind, as the film is done well enough to escape the mire of The January Release. Plus Amy Smart stars, and, well, she’s just gorgeous.