I think we can all agree that characters in time travel movies generally tend to royally screw things up somewhere along the way. Whether they are trying to prevent the world from ending or just improve a bad situation, catastrophe usually follows. Add a crazed serial killer, a demonic force, or other form of supernatural tomfoolery and it transforms into a time travel horror film. Be it basic time travel or crazy time loops, these five movies combine time travel and carnage to deliver a mind-boggling and often terrifying viewing experience and they did it with style.
Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, this Spanish sci-fi horror film will delight those who love a good time paradox. The flick stars Héctor, a middle-aged man who gets stuck in a time loop and makes a bad situation much worse. Before long, Héctor must outsmart multiple versions of himself and figure out how to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Timecrimes is a very clever, effectively-paced, and tension-filled story that proves a big-budget isn’t needed to make a great film.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Ever wish you could go back to a point in your life and make one small change? The Butterfly Effect, starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart, will make you think twice about that. The movie tells the story of Evan Treborn (Kutcher) and Kayleigh Miller (Smart) and psychological traumas they’ve endured together. Evan discovers by reading his old journals that he can time travel to points in his life and make small changes that have drastic consequences. However, only chaos and unintended mayhem result from his actions. At one point he wakes up as a double amputee! Another attempt at making a change lands him in prison for murder. Each attempt Evan makes to fix the present just screws it up even more. This dark time travel flick holds up surprisingly well. Be sure to watch the director’s cut ending when revisiting.
The House at the End of Time (2013)
The House at the End of Time is a Venezuelan horror film directed by Alejandro Hidalgo. The movie tells the story of Dulce, a mother to two young boys. She begins experiencing strange goings on in their house (slamming doors, strange noises, etc…). At one point someone even attempts to break in, but no one will believe her story. The film tries to convince us that maybe some type of poltergeist situation is unfolding. But as the flick progresses we find out that house has the ability to send its inhabitants back in time. This is great movie that combines horror, time travel, and the emotional journey of a mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her children. Also, rumor has it that a remake may be coming soon!
Happy Death Day (2017)
Picture the movie Groundhog Day, but with a psychotic serial killer murdering you over and over. The film stars Jessica Rothe as college student Tree Gelbman who gets stuck in a time loop on her birthday, the same day a masked murderer is plotting her demise. She must find a way to defeat the killer or forever reawaken to the same dreaded day. Tree starts her journey as a superficial, self-centered, sorority girl who has few likable qualities. However, by the end of the picture, Tree does a complete 180 that will leave you rooting for her to be the “final girl.”
Also See: Review: Happy Death Day is Witty, Amusing, and Fun
Army of Darkness (1992)
While devoid of any time loop or mind-boggling time travel paradox, the cult classic Army of Darkness is still a highly effective time travel film. Bruce Campbell reprises his role in the third installment in the Evil Dead franchise as the legendary Ash Williams. Ash is transported back to medieval times and must find the Necronomicon so he can return to the 20th century. Only equipped with a shotgun, his trusty chainsaw, and his beloved Oldsmobile, he fights his way through hordes of deadites. Ash delivers some highly quotable lines in the film and plenty of hilarious dialogue that makes it more than worthy of its cult classic status.