Timecrimes (2007)

Actors: Karra Elejalde
Directors: Nacho Vigalondo
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs:
Magnolia Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date:
March 31, 2009
Run Time:
89 minutes


Anyone expecting a bloody slasher flick will be disappointed. The DVD cover creates a false impression and will probably attract the wrong kind of audience for this Spanish language flick with English subtitles. 

Yes, the film features a bloodied-scissor wielding stranger in a long coat with his face covered in bandages (DC Comics’ Unknown Soldier gone bad?), but looks are deceiving – both in the film and its marketing materials. Timecrimes is rather low on gore (there’s hardly any) and the plot is somewhat more involved than your average Prom Night remake. As the title may hint, Timecrimes is instead a rather clever science fiction tale involving (yup, you guessed it) time travel.

The less you know about the plot in advance, the better. But if you insist on a plot synopsis, here it is: a man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences. Suffice to say that Timecrimes has been compared to Back to the Future and Groundhog Day, but sharper-eyed viewers will find that Timecrimes has more in common with Back to the Future Part II and Retroactive, a lesser-known sci-fi entry dating from 1997 starring James Belushi (also recommended).

It is like the first Back to the Future sequel in that at points you’ll feel you need a flowchart to fit all the jigsaw puzzle pieces that make up the plot. However, while Timecrimes will make your head want to explode, it’ll also leave a silly grin on your face. Yes, the plot can get overcomplicated and too clever for its own good, but even if you’re au fait with the genre conventions of time travel tales and can predict huge chunks of the movie, there will still be some unexpected plots and twists along with the way.

In the end Timecrimes is what all low-budget science fiction cinema should be like. If you don’t have the money for huge space battles and loads of special effects, then don’t put them in your movie. (Timecrimes has hardly any special effects.) Just make sure that you have a clever concept or screenplay to work from, and take it from there. And lay off the zombies all right!

WORTH IT? Timecrimes is highly recommended for science fiction fans who are unafraid of subtitles and seeking something a little more challenging than your latest Hollywood blockbuster. Make no mistake though; this is no “heavy” European art flick. The pacing is quick and there is plenty of action. It should also come as no surprise that an English language remake is in the works. That it will be directed by David Cronenberg also comes as no surprise.


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