Metro In Focus: Live. Die. Repeat: Talking time loop movies
By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada
The tagline for Tom Cruise’s latest film is “Live. Die. Repeat.”
“How many times have we been here,” asks Rita (Emily Blunt). “For me, it’s been an eternity,” replies William (Cruise) as he relives the same day of an alien invasion over and over.
Edge of Tomorrow is a time-loop movie that can best be described as War of the Worlds meets Groundhog Day.
In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray says, “Every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender. I am an immortal.” His take on a drunk, suicide-prone weatherman who discovers the beauty of life by living the same day endlessly may be the granddaddy of all
Hollywood déjà vu stories, but many other movie characters have been caught in cinematic time circles.
The DVD cover for 2006’s Salvage asks the question, “What if every day you relived your own murder?” Originally called Gruesome for the festival circuit, the movie is as grim as Bill Murray’s film is life-affirming. Called a “digital video hell — spawn of Psycho, Eyes Without a Face and Groundhog Day,” by Variety, Salvage is the story of Claire (Lauren Currie Lewis), a convenience store worker who undergoes her murder over and over. Despite its extremely low budget — star Lewis doubled as the film’s make-up artist — Salvage was an official selection of the 2006 Sundance Festival.
The horror genre lends itself to time-bending tales. Camp Slaughter is a 2005 throwback to the slasher films of the 1980s. In this one, a group of modern teens stumble across Camp Hiawatha, a dangerous place where not-so-happy-campers are trapped in 1981 and forced to re-experience the night a maniacal murderer went on a killing spree. Labelled “Groundhog Day meets Friday the 13th (part 2,3,4,5,6,7,8… every one of them!),” by one critic, it’s gory good fun.
Not into gory? The Yuletide provides a less bloody backdrop for time-looping. The title Christmas Every Day is self-explanatory but 12 Dates of Christmas is better than the name suggests. Us Weekly called this Amy Smart romantic comedy about a woman stuck in an endless Christmas Eve, a sweet “nicely woven journey.”
Finally, the aptly named Repeaters is a Canadian film written by Arne Olsen, scribe of Power Rangers: The Movie. Repeaters is about a trio of recovering addicts who find themselves in “an impossible time labyrinth” after being electrocuted in a storm. Like most time-bending films, Repeaters is about learning from your mistakes. What sets it apart from some of the others are three unlikeable leads who use their situation to raise hell and break the law. It’s only when Kyle (Dustin Milligan) realizes they could be in big trouble if time suddenly unfreezes for them that familiar time-loop themes of redemption and self-reflection arise.