Why these individuals have the ability to concentrate real hard and go back in time has never been explained to us, at least as far as I can remember, but it does seem to be genetic in some kind of way. When we first meet the character of Sam Reid (Chris Carmack) in this movie ‘Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations’ he’s using his gift a little differently than we’re used to as he has become a police ‘psychic’ in a sense. He goes back in time, observes the crime being committed but does not interfere, because we know what happens when you change stuff, and simply goes to the police with the knowledge he’s gained and puts the cops on the right track. The cop that handles his cases, Detective Glenn (Lynch Travis), knows he’s no psychic but he has no idea how Sam is pulling these minor miracles off.
Sam has a few advantages that the others before him didn’t have, one being that he has some kind of Professor X type mentor in Dr. Goldburg (Kevin Yon), a wild plant growing, pot smoking Grateful Dead reject who has taught Sam how to control his abilities and has laid a clear and concise set of rules that absolutely must be followed to keep from altering the present in almost always negative ways. Sam also has his somewhat emotionally scarred baby sister Jenna (Rachel Miner) who acts as his assistant when he jumps by making sure all of the parameters are in place to minimize the brain scramble that happens each time Sam does what he does and she feeds Sam the info he needs so he can jump to the correct spot. Sam and Jenna’s parents died in a tragic house fire when they were kids and Jenna still is having trouble dealing with it, and Sam won’t talk about what happened.
One fateful day Sam gets a visit from a girl named Elizabeth (Sarah Habel) who was the sister of Sam’s girlfriend who was murdered ten years ago (Mia Serafino).
Elizabeth has heard about Sam’s ‘psychic abilities’ and has proof that the guy about to be executed for killing her sister is innocent and she needs his help since the real killer is still out there. Sam initially rejects the offer, Dr. Goldburg tells him ‘don’t even think about it’, baby sis says ‘don’t even think about it’, but damn… Sam thinks he can fix it. So Sam goes back in time to save his dead girlfriend, under the guise of helping this death row dude, a dude who is fairly convinced that Sam is the killer anyway, and screws everything up royally. Now Sam has to jump back and fix it again because last time he has somehow created a serial killer. Now everything is completely out of control. Now Sam has to go back and stop this serial killer he’s created or at least find out who this serial killer is and somehow repair the incredible amount of damage he has caused. That is assuming that in his scrambled brain state he’s not the killer himself. Oh what a tangled web we weave.
I tell you what, within about five minutes of watching this third iteration of ‘The Butterfly Effect’ it was clear that this was going to be vastly superior to the incredibly sub par movie, at least in my opinion, that preceded this one. Does that mean this version is a good movie? Hell no, because you probably have home movies that I would enjoy more than ‘Butterfly Effect 2’ but I enjoyed this third sequel quite a bit as it would turn out, despite a gaping plot hole here and there.
Director Seth Grossman and screenwriter Holly Brix toy with the rules a bit in this movie to tailor it to their purposes, for instance I think in the previous films the character had a rush of memories when he popped back into the present after changing the past but in this one Sam was completely oblivious to whatever changes might’ve been made by his time jumping, with his ignorance being critical in playing into the decisions he was making. There were some clever plot elements infused in this one that the filmmakers did a very good job of concealing or slowly revealing over the course of time and Grossman did a good job of combining the mixed elements of the film, those being horror, gore, thriller and SciFi into a fast paced, coherent movie that was easy to watch and get into.
The acting was above average in this film and I should mention that it was filmed at home in Detroit, and Grossman did take full advantage of some of my towns, how do you say, aesthetics? It definitely added to the overall atmosphere of the movie, and he used local actors for some key roles which we do appreciate. However I think a native Detroiter would probably have named a serial killer after a street as opposed to a city because people get sensitive around here about their cities. The Grand Blvd. killer sounds good to me, but that’s neither here nor there.
There were some things that didn’t mesh such as the creation of these time jumping rules, particularly the physical side effects rules that were laid out in this one which the filmmaker broke repeatedly with no deathly side effects that I could discern, there is a scene near the end of the film centering around a certain flower, which those who have seen the movie will remember, and I’m thinking that there was something more to that sequence that made the final cut. There was this overly long and completely gratuitous and graphic sex scene in the movie which was funny in the sense that Sam, in movie time, was probably socking it to this woman for about three hours in every way possible, but suddenly he doesn’t want to get down anymore and she calls him ‘gay’. That’s a tough a crowd right there.
There are other niggling things that didn’t quite add up in this movie but I thought the ‘twist’, as twists go, was nicely concealed and even made a little sense, which is rare in these types of movies, and all in all I enjoyed this one. After seeing ‘Butterfly Effect 2’ my expectations were admittedly low, but this one surprised me and was more than worth my time.