A sci-fi thriller with hints of Danny Boyle's 1994 "Shallow Grave," the new film "Time Lapse" revolves around three roommates grappling with the ethics and side effects of a fortune-telling contraption.
Artist-housing complex superintendent Finn (Matt O'Leary) is asked to check on a resident who hasn't been seen in a week. Along with his live-in girlfriend, Callie (Danielle Panabaker), and roommate Jasper (George Finn), he discovers a customized camera aimed directly at their living room window from the missing resident's home. It regularly ejects a Polaroid showing activities taking place exactly 24 hours in the future.
The roommates later find the missing man's corpse in a storage unit but keep it a secret so they can make the most of his invention.
With the photos as their guide, Jasper bets on dog races and Finn paints by number. It's just a matter of time before the minatory bookie, Ivan (Jason Spisak), gets leery.
Why doesn't Jasper play the lottery instead? Why is the camera aimed at their window, of all places? Good questions. But director Bradley King and his co-writer, B.P. Cooper, manage to overcome their shoddy premise as the plot progresses assuredly and persuasively.
As with "Shallow Grave," suspicion and paranoia brew as the relationships among the roommates disintegrate. The biggest surprise, though, is how the story continues to unsettle after it ends.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes.
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.