DVD Review: ‘Timecrimes’ Will Be a Glorious Find For Sci-Fi, Horror Fans

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HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – There was a small window of time there where it looked like the Nacho Vigalondo’s excellent “Timecrimes” might be the next foreign language hit on the arthouse circuit. If not “Pan’s Labyrinth“-big maybe as buzzed about as “Tell No One” or “Let the Right One In”. That never happened (it didn’t even make $40k in theaters) but audiences are going to find this above-average genre pic on DVD.

“Timecrimes” is a movie likely to put a broad smile on the face of sci-fi or horror nuts grown weary of the cavalcade of crap produced by their favorite genres. Writer/director Nacho Vigalondo has crafted what is almost an oxymoron - a simple time-travel movie. So many time travel movies get deep into chaos theory or the butterfly effect, but “Timecrimes” is a piece with only four characters that delves into the idea of moving back in time.

Timecrimes was released on DVD on March 31st, 2009.
Timecrimes was released on DVD on March 31st, 2009.
Photo credit: Magnolia

This is easily one of the more original and unique science fiction movies in years, a thrill ride blissfully unconcerned with the hyperbole that typically drags down the genre. It’s about a small group of people who happen to get involved in a nightmare that includes time travel. It’s a murder mystery that loops in on itself over and over again but actually holds together. It’s a cult classic waiting to happen.

Timecrimes was released on DVD on March 31st, 2009.
Timecrimes was released on DVD on March 31st, 2009.
Photo credit: Magnolia

Karra Elejalde plays Hector, a man moving into a new home with his wife and about to have a very, very weird first day in his new abode. He’s sitting on his lawn, checking out the countryside with a pair of binoculars when he notices a woman undressing in the woods. Like most guys might do, he decides to try and get a closer look.

Before he can get too close to the naked chick, he’s attacked by a shrouded figure with a bloody bandage around his head. He flees for his life to a laboratory on the top of a nearby hill and escapes with his life. When he gets inside, he’s ordered into an odd machine for safety. When he comes out, he learns that he’s jumped just a few hours in time but now there are two Hectors in the time-space continuum.

“Timecrimes” gets increasingly complicated from there but it’s essentially always about Hector (even if there’s more than one Hector), his wife, the naked lady, and the man in the lab. It works in on itself like a jigsaw puzzle, but, unlike a lot of sci-fi entries, it actually holds together upon reflection.

Ultimately, “Timecrimes” is straight-up fun. It’s darkly humorous and consistently entertaining. Vigalondo doesn’t yet have the visual sensibility that could have elevated “Timecrimes” to genre perfection, but his film is always entertaining, weird, funny, and consistently surprising.

Timecrimes was released on DVD on March 31st, 2009.
Timecrimes was released on DVD on March 31st, 2009.
Photo credit: Magnolia

This cult hit in the making comes from Magnolia entertainment and they’ve done a great service for such a low-grossing film, giving it an extensive DVD treatment (although I do wish they had made the Blu-Ray option a possibility.) The film is presented with its original 1.85:1 aspect ration and accompanied by English and Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Watch it with subtitles (even if Magnolia has been accused of producing some pretty lackluster ones recently.)

Special features include “Making of Timecrimes,” cast and crew intervies, a short film called “7:35 de la manana,” 5 featurettes that make up the “Creation of Timecrimes” internet game, a make-up featurette, a photo gallery, and a teaser trailer. There are mega-hits with a thousand times the box office gross of “Timecrimes” with less impressive special features. Maybe Magnolia has seen the future and know “Timecrimes” will eventually have a huge, loyal following.

‘Timecrimes’ is released by Magnolia Home Entertainment and stars Karra Elejalde, Nacho Vigalondo, Candela Fernandez, and Barbara Goenaga. It was written and directed by Vigalondo. It was released on March 31st, 2009. It is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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