The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006) directed by John R. Leonetti
I had no intention of ever watching this movie. I wasn't terribly impressed with the original, which I thought had a great premise with ham-handed execution. But, Horrorfest 2008 selected part 3 as one of their 8 films, so I pretty much had to catch myself up before getting to that one. Not that this movie has anything to do with the ones before or after it. Which was appreciated; the premise doesn't require that the stories connect, so shoe-horning a reference to Ashton Kutcher would've been distracting and unnecessary.
In this one, a young businessman loses his girlfriend and best friends in a car accident. A year later, he figures out he has the power to jump back into previous parts of his life just by staring at a photo of that time. Naturally, the more he tries to fix the past, the worse things become. The bad stuff that happens when he changes the past isn't quite as ridiculous as in the original. No one is instantly transformed into a crack whore or has all of their limbs amputated here. In fact, things just go mildly wrong for the main character until the end. That coupled with some bland characters and a not-too-interesting plot about a struggling tech company make for a rather unmemorable film. (5/10)
The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations (2009) directed by Seth Grossman
This is the first movie I've seen made with the help of the new Michigan Film Office. Most of this movie was shot in Detroit. I've always thought the spookily deserted parts of Detroit would make a great location for a horror movie. Anyway, as a Michigan native, I can't help like this one more than I should.
This time, the time jumper is fully aware of his gift and its dangers. He uses it to identify murderers for the police (pretending to be a police psychic), but never tries to prevent the killings himself. All he does is watch. Of course, the temptation to look into his own girlfriend's murder is too strong. Soon enough, he's messing up the timeline and making things much worse by accidentally creating a serial killer.
His attempts to track down this serial killer is pretty engaging. He becomes more obsessed with each time jump. And, since he keeps showing up at the crime scenes in the past, he quickly makes himself the police's number one suspect. I have to say the mystery of all this kept me guessing until the end. The revelation was a little disappointing, sadly. Turns out his sister has the same power and has been using it to kill his girlfriends. Turns out she has an incestuous crush on him ever since he saved her life as child. That all seems to come out of nowhere. If there'd been hints that something wasn't quite kosher in their relationship before this is revealed, it may have been more acceptable. As it is, it seems a little random.
Speaking of the sister, she was driving me nuts the entire movie. I knew I'd seen her recently in another movie, but couldn't place her. Actually, Rachel Miner seems to be the queen of Horrorest. She was in Penny Dreadful in 2006 and Tooth & Nail in 2007. I wonder which Horrorfest movie she'll be in this year?
It's very rare thing for second sequel to be better than the preceding movies, but here it is. (7/10)