Throw some pillows on the floor, build a fort out of dining room chairs and blankets, and grab a bowl of any cereal that contains marshmallow, and you are all ready for some Saturday morning entertainment. Time Trap has the feel of Rod Taylor in The Time Machine (1960) combined with plenty of the 1974 television series Land of the Lost thrown in for good measure. Sure, the performances are a bit heavy handed and one dimensional, and the story breaks down at the end, but if that stuff starts bothering you, eat more cereal. This is fun!
Time Trap follows a group of students who venture into the deep caves of remote Texas to locate a favorite archaeology professor (Andrew Wilson) who inexplicably has gone missing while searching for the Fountain of Youth. The sci-fi film is scheduled to hit select theaters November 2 and on all digital platforms November 13. Time Trap’s World Premiere was held opening weekend of the Seattle International Film Festival, and it won several festival awards, including a Special Jury Prize at Houston International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Hill Country Film Festival, and the Hollywood Film Festival’s Most Innovative Feature award. All those awards and no cereal was being served. That says a lot.
The group of good-looking students includes a love triangle, a jock guy (Reiley McClendon), cute blondes (Cassidy Gifford, Brianne Howey), a little sister (Olivia Draguicevich), and an overweight neighbor kid (Max Wright) with a crush on one of the older girls. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Sound like fun? Of course it does.
Writer and co-director Mark Dennis (with Ben Foster) know exactly what they are doing here as they take our cast and put them in a cave with many strange creatures (No Sleestak but some of ChaKa's relatives were there) and foil every attempt to get out. As we follow the exploits of our cast, not once do you ever feel like you’re watching an independent film. The cast and crew do a lot with a little and it works for the most part. At only 87 minutes, the last 20 do seem to drag a bit, but it might be the cereal sugar crash. The tunnel team race around the cave, figure out who everyone is, find the professor and the Fountain of Youth, though it never really gets discussed, all while we are waiting for the writers to decide if they are going to fix this or leave them where they are. The decision could be considered a twist, but we have seen similar choices. The special effects are surprisingly good and the music by composer Xiaotian Shi adds value.
Recommendation: Bravo. Here is an independent film that doesn’t try to do too much and delivers a good hour of excitement and intrigue and 27 minutes of pretty good resolution. Yes, this film has a strong fromage factor, but that is a strong part of its charm. You'd be cheesy too if you spent that much time in a cave. Don’t be afraid to invest your time and money in this little movie that could. It’s a fun time not a trap.