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Temporal Anomalies

Main Page
Discussing Time Travel Theory
Other Films
Perpetual Barbecue
About the Author
Contact the Author

See also entries under the
Temporal Anomalies/Time Travel
category of the
mark Joseph "young"
web log
elsewhere on this site.

Quick Jumps

Donnie Darko and S. Darko
Butterfly Effect 3:  Revelations
Los Cronocrimines a.k.a. TimeCrimes

Miscellaneous Articles
in original publication sequence except for indices inserted at correct points in the historic flow

Temporal Anomalies Classics
Temporal Anomalies Index 2009
Back to the Future Nationwide
  Theatrical Showing This Evening

People Magazine's Woman of the Year
  Sandra Bullock
    featured in time travel films

Temporal Anomalies Index 2010
Source Code Opens April 1, 2011
Future Time Travel Film Analyses--2011
Why Not Analyze
  Time Travel Television Shows?

Men in Black III Remakes History
Temporal Anomalies Index 2011
(Some of) The Best Time Travel Movies
  You Might Have Missed

Men in Black III May 25th U.S. debut
  midnight shows tonight

Future Time Travel Film Analyses--2012
Temporal Anomalies Index 2012
(Some of) The Best Time Travel Movies
  for Children

Films Currently Showing, November 2013
Upcoming Time Travel Films,
  from February 2014

(Some of) The Best Time Travel
  Romance Movies

Upcoming time travel films,
  from December 2014

Temporal Anomalies Index 2014
(Some of) The Best Time Travel Comedies
(Some of) The Best Time Travel Thrillers

Movies Analyzed
in order examined
except where sequels are listed with original films

    Addendum to Terminator
    Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines
    Terminator Recap
    Terminator Salvation
    Terminator Genisys
    Terminator:  Dark Fate
Back To The Future
Back To The Future II
Back To The Future III
Star Trek Introduction
    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    Star Trek: Generations
    Star Trek: First Contact
    Star Trek (2009)
12 Monkeys
    Addendum to 12 Monkeys
Flight Of The Navigator
  Flight Of The Navigator Addendum
Army of Darkness
Lost In Space
Peggy Sue Got Married
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
Planet of the Apes
Kate and Leopold
Somewhere In Time
The Time Machine
Minority Report
Happy Accidents
The Final Countdown
Donnie Darko
  S. Darko
Harry Potter and
    the Prisoner of Azkaban

Deja Vu
    Primer Questions
Bender's Big Score
Popular Christmas Movies
The Butterfly Effect
  The Butterfly Effect 2
  The Butterfly Effect 3:  Revelations
The Last Mimzy
The Lake House
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Hot Tub Time Machine
Los Cronocrimines a.k.a. TimeCrimes
A Sound of Thundrer
Frequently Asked Questions
    About Time Travel

Source Code
Blackadder Back & Forth
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
11 Minutes Ago
Men in Black III
La Jetée
Midnight in Paris
Meet the Robinsons
H. G. Wells' The Time Machine
The Jacket
Safety Not Guaranteed
The Philadelphia Experiment
    The Philadelphia Experiment II
Time After Time
About Time
Free Birds
X-Men:  Days of Future Past
Edge of Tomorrow
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Project Almanac
Time Lapse
O Homem Do Futuro
    a.k.a. The Man from the Future

Abby Sen
When We First Met
See You Yesterday
The History of Time Travel
Copyright Information

The temporal anomaly terminology used here is drawn from Appendix 11:  Temporal Anomalies of Multiverser from Valdron Inc, and is illustrated on the home page of this web site.  This site is part of M. J. Young Net.

Books by the Author.

The Book

Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies
(Some of)
The Best Time Travel Thrillers

We previously looked at (Some of) The best time travel movies you might have missed, and commented that there were many categories within the subject that might be included.  We have since added (Some of) The Best Time Travel Movies for Children, (Some of) The Best Time Travel Romance Movies, and (Some of) The Best Time Travel Comedies.

Another one of those categories is loosely called "thrillers", which includes horror movies but also the far edge of suspense.  Here are some noteworthy titles in that field.  This list comes with a rather significant caveat:  I do not like horror films in general, and most of these I watched solely because I felt obligated to do so for their time travel elements.  Thus my opinion about what makes a good horror film might not be in line with those of their fans.  Again, we have put them in some rough order of ascending worth.

We might have included Army of Darkness in this list, but really, we included it recently in our list of (Some of) The best time travel comedies, which is probably where it really belongs.


This movie is genuinely attempting to be a horror film, and is promoted as such; further, the time travel elements are integral to the horror--it is the terror of being trapped in a time loop.  In response to our original analysis one correspondent suggested that it was not a time travel movie at all, but that the main character Jessie has been condemned to hell, and this is her personal eternal punishment.  While that is a viable interpretation of this movie, which is replete with horror tropes and a bit gory, if we accept that view it ceases to belong here with the time travel movies at all.  It was not what I would call an enjoyable movie, and it was certainly a horror in terms of its time travel, but it does get good marks for making the effort to use a Bermuda Triangle-like scenario temporal loop as a horror setting.  We analyze it here.

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Donnie Darko and S. Darko

This was one of those movies that time travel fans talked about, raving about how complex it was.  It proved to be temporally rather simple, although the solution required accepting a few theories concerning its supernatural realm.  We don't realize that the apparition in the rabbit costume is the ghost of someone the main character is going to kill, but we watch as the spirit leads the person through a disastrous life to the point where the shooting occurs.  It was fairly well done, as long as you ignore the Internet book that supposedly is the book in the story, which was written well after the movie was released and only confuses matters.  We did an analysis on the original site.

The sequel, S. Darko, is more eerie than anything else.  Our analysis (also here) found many problems, including people who will not die if they die.  It was an interesting and in its own way much-anticipated sequel, but did not live up to the original on any level.  The presence of ghosts and conversations with the departed puts this in the supernatural realm, but it is never really terribly frightening despite the several deaths.

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Butterfly Effect 3:  Revelations

Unlike its two prequels, this has the feel of a thriller from its opening scenes.  The main characters in the first two films discover that they can travel to moments in their own past by using reminders of times and places where they were, and manage to complicate their lives trying to make them better.  Our central character here, unrelated to those, has refined the ability significantly, and uses it to visit murders, returning to the present where he pretends to be a psychic who sees visions, and collects reward money for providing information that leads to an arrest in these unsolved crimes.  Things get complicated when he starts trying to solve the murder of his own high school girlfriend, when the girl's sister persuades him that the wrong person was arrested.  The noose tightens around him because he is working against another time traveler who manages to stay one step ahead of him until he is arrested for a murder and does not know who did it.  Find the full analysis here.

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Los Cronocrimines a.k.a. TimeCrimes

This was a brilliant time travel story in which a man wanders into the woods in pursuit of a girl he glimpsed through the trees, and winds up chased by a masked man, and then hides in an experimental time machine.  It is a complex story in which we wonder at times who died and who was the killer, and in the end someone is dead and the killer seems never to have existed.  It is a Spanish film which is available subbed and dubbed in English; there was talk of doing an American remake, which we are still hoping to see, and hoping that the Americanization of the script does not destroy what proved to be a wonderfully intricate and workable time travel plot.  It ranks high on the list of well done time travel stories, although its moderate budget shows in places and as a thriller it is not as compelling as our remaining two.  Our analysis is here.

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Sometimes when there is a fatal accident it absolutely shatters your life.  In Premonition (analysis here), that happens to Sandra Bullock's Linda in a major way:  her husband is killed in a car accident and she lives an entire week out of sequence, on some days of which her husband is alive and on others dead.  The viewer joins her in trying to grasp what has happened as she goes from attending his funeral to discussing his business trip, and we feel it pulling inexorably toward the fatal accident from which it all began.  It is thought-provoking and disorienting and eerie, and not a little frightening along the way.  Despite major temporal problems, it is a significant and worthwhile time travel film.

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Although the sequels became great action-adventure films, there is no doubt that the original Terminator movie (our original analysis of which is still here) was a horror film, built on many of the genre tropes.  It has a monster that seems invulnerable, a threatened helpless girl who becomes the hero, a hero who dies protecting her.  Several times when we think the monster is dead it suddenly rises and attacks again.  It also uses the tricks of making us expect a surprise attack, relieving the tension with a fake, and then abruptly bringing the anticipated attack from a different direction.  Everything about it screams "horror movie", and it is one of those films I would not have watched had it not also been a great science fiction film and a good time travel movie.  It is argued that the first movie is a fixed time story, but the second clearly is not, and the first does not have to be.  It is good enough to be worth being a bit frightened.

Those are the best time travel thrillers I've seen, and some that are maybe not so good.  If I missed one, let me know--it is possible I have not seen it, and I should analyze it when I can.

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