Friday, 2 April 2021

Synchronic (2020)

"Moorhead and Benson's Best Yet"

The team of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who both direct from scripts by Benson with Moorhead acting as cinematographer, has been responsible for a string of low budget creative genre pieces including the fascinating warped space and time epics RESOLUTION (2012) and its direct sequel (kind of) THE ENDLESS (2017) and affecting EuroHorror-style tribute SPRING (2014).

SYNCHRONIC sees Benson and Moorhead getting their biggest budget to date, with star talents to match, all contributing towards the best and most successful exploration of their fascination of the nature of time yet. If you were fascinated by THE ENDLESS but didn't quite get it, or wondered what exactly what was going on in RESOLUTION, SYNCHRONIC is the film to watch, one which both consolidates their oeuvre so far and suggests they may intend to explore more complex extrapolations of these ideas in future movies.

Steve (Anthony Mackie, best known as Falcon from the Marvel films) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan who like his 50 SHADES OF GREY co-star Dakota Johnson is finding redemption through genre movies) are New Orleans paramedics who find themselves called to cases of drug overdoses associated with inexplicable events. One has been bitten by a venomous snake whose presence should be an impossibility, another has been stabbed in the chest by a cutlass hundreds of years old.

All the cases are linked by a drug called Synchronic which, it turns out, can cause time travel. When Dennis' daughter disappears it's up to Steve to experiment with the last remaining doses of Synchronic to try to find her.

The science is a little bit complex but it's well explained, the performances are excellent (especially Mackie who exhibits real star quality in this) and it's obvious that Benson and Moorhead have improved considerably as storytellers since RESOLUTION. SYNCHRONIC deserved a wide cinematic release as their entry into the big time but unfortunately COVID put paid to that. 

Signature Entertainment's Blu-ray release contains a directors' commentary, a spoof alternate ending (which should raise a smile) plus 15 minutes of behind the scenes and a fascinating 8 minutes of 'previsualisation' which shows how they work out what they want to do by creating a 'practice run through' on a mobile phone. There's also a one minute deleted scene and some trailers. The extra content is also on the iTunes download but not the DVD or other digital platforms.

Moorhead & Benson's SYNCHRONIC is out from Signature Entertainment on Digital Platforms now and on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 5th April 2021

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