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Austin Film Festival 2017: “Time Trap” Review

“Time Trap” is a 2017 sci-fi adventure film from Mark Dennis and Ben Foster; Dennis wrote the screenplay and co-directed the movie with Foster.

James Hopper (Andrew Wilson) at Bronson Cave

The movie begins with Professor James Hopper (Andrew Wilson) searching an old van in the Texas wilderness with his dog Boss by his side. It’s not long until we find out that the van belonged to some hippes that went missing decades ago, and Hopper is on a mission to find them in a series of caves near the van. He chooses to go alone, much to the chagrin of a couple of his archaeology students, Taylor (Reiley McClendon) and Jackie (Brianne Howey). When Hopper has been gone for two days without any contact, the students round up a group to go looking for him.

In addition to Jackie and Taylor, they bring Cara (Cassidy Gifford), whom Taylor has a crush on, and her 13-year-old sister Veeves (Olivia Draguicevich). Veeves then insists her friend Furby (Max Wright) come along to help document the trip, then the five of them are on the road.

Furby, who is a video blogger, introduces a found footage aspect to the film when he asks that all parties wear a camera on their person throughout the trip. He also acts as the comedic relief for “Time Trap,” constantly hitting on Jackie and making the kinds of jokes you might expect a 13-year-old boy to make. The group dynamic is an interesting one, as they all seem to get along almost like a family: they’re argumentative and exasperated by each other much of the time, but they do enjoy each other’s company.

Once Taylor, Cara, Jackie and Veeves enter the cave with Furby on the outside as a support system, things start getting weird. We first see a sort of transparent boundary when Hopper is exploring the caves, then again when Cara notices the air changing on the climb down. The special effects for this dimensional time warp are subtle but they look good. As the group explores the cavernous area, they end up with more questions than they do answers. The film makes some timeless pop culture references, including a couple to “The Goonies” and one to “The Blair Witch Project.”

Jackie (Brianne Howey)

In this movie, the science fiction aspect is only a gateway to the adventure plot, which also includes a mythos surrounding the Fountain of Youth. The concepts explored in “Time Trap” are fresh and creative, with some cool imagery. The film is more mysterious and suspenseful than you might expect going into it and the stakes are pretty high for the main characters. It will take you on such a trip that you will never know what is waiting just around the corner, and you certainly won’t expect the ending.

“Time Trap” contains some violent fight scenes and scary moments, but it’s an overall family friendly movie, especially for preteens and kids who don’t scare easily.

It will be screening once more at the 2017 Austin Film Festival on Wednesday, November 1 at 3 PM, so don’t miss out! Visit the Austin Film Festival website here for ticket information. 

Stay tuned for more reviews and exclusive interviews from the 2017 Austin Film Festival! 

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