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The Butterfly Effect 3

Directed by Directed by Seth Grossman

Written by Written by Holly Brix

Starring Starring Chris Carmack, Rachel Miner

Produced by Produced by AJ Dix, Chris Bender, JC Spink, Anthony Rhulen

Rated R

90 mins

***

Okay, this is the part where I start sweating bullets. I’m not a hundred percent sure I’ve found the dog of the After Dark Horrorfest yet, and if it’s going to happen anywhere, it’s probably going to happen here. This is the one no one saw coming, the third iteration of a movie that was a vastly worse result than its good idea implied it would be.

See, I love time travel stories. Call it personal bias, but I love, LOVE!, seeing what happens when you change something about the past. It’s amazing how much of what we know about our lives depends on so very little. Just alter one thing and suddenly the entire world you know is different, the chain of cause and effect wrapping around your entire life to affect everyone you’ve ever come in contact with, and everyone THEY’VE ever come in contact with and so on, the ripples spreading outward until they engulf all of humanity. Next time you’re feeling insignificant, remember that: what you do today could affect everybody tomorrow.

Anyway, that in mind, that’s also what this is about. Sam has the unique gift of being able to travel through time. If he uses his gift passively, it becomes a valuable tool, allowing him to be an eyewitness at any crime, any time. But should he ever INTERACT with the past, use that gift actively, then he might alter the world in any of a hundred ways. When Sam gets a personal request for help, he uses his gift actively. And that’s when everything goes wrong.

Actually, that’s when everything goes wrong over and over and over again. See, the BAD part about the Butterfly Effect series—this was a HUGE theme in the first one—is that pretty much whenever you go back in time to change a bad thing, you end up CAUSING something worse. Go back in time to prevent one death, you cause two. Try to prevent two, you’ll blow off your own legs. Try to prevent losing your legs and you’ll set fire to Pittsburgh. And so on right down the line. There is, according to The Butterfly Effect, NO WAY to change your past so that it’s better than the present. If The Butterfly Effect is any indication, if you go back in time often enough you’ll destroy the entire planet, and you’ll do it in a fashion where literally EVERYBODY drowns in their own septic tanks and goes straight to hell afterward.

It’s hard to say much about this movie one way or the other. The basic concept is there, if a bit pessimistic, and the movie sticks to its concept like glue. But it’s really little more than a series of murders until about the last fifteen minutes or so.

The ending, the last fifteen minutes or so, you see, is where this one starts to shine. A collection of out-of-nowhere surprises literally pummels the viewer, and in a much better fashion than its predecessors. It’s hard to believe that this is actually better than the original, but that’s the case.

The special features include Miss Horrorfest webisodes, audio options, and English and Spanish subtitles. I’d include the trailers but they’re inaccessible from the menu.

All in all, I really had my doubts about this one. I thought sure that, if anything was going to be the dog of the After Dark Horrorfest, it was going to be this one. But no, once again the Horrorfest has surprised me and shown me that, with precious few exceptions, only the best makes it in.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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