Main Cast: Michiel Huisman, Theresa Palmer
Director: Paul Currie

A Star Shines Brightest Right Before It Dies

When I saw the description for this movie under the Horror category on Hulu, I thought, “Well, that sounds interesting.”

“Dylan Branson begins to notice the repetition of ominous events that happen at the same time every day. As he’s drawn into a complex relationship with Sarah, Dylan must take control of time itself.”

Automatically, we’ve got a few things I always dig. Patterns, repetition, I’m in. I love stories where seemingly random events fit together into a puzzle to make a bigger whole, so yeah, I’m gonna watch this one. Also it was, alphabetically, the first movie in the horror section, so, you know, that plays a part, too.

Now having seen it, I have just one major gripe (and a few smaller ones). This is NOT a horror movie. Not even a little bit. I’ll put it under suspense, science fiction for sure, maybe even thriller. But a horror movie it is NOT. Not by any stretch.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it. It was well-written, nicely constructed (written by first-timer Todd Stein and Nathan Parker, writer of Duncan Jones’s MOON), and I really dug Michiel Huisman (THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE) as Dylan, the air traffic controller with a talent for spotting patterns.

One day he accidentally almost causes a collision on the field and is suspended. His ex has given him aerial ballet tickets for his upcoming birthday and while in the audience, he meets Sarah (Theresa Palmer, LIGHTS OUT) who was on one of the planes that day and who shares the exact same birthday. They
quickly start to fall for each other but then he starts to notice these repeating patterns every day—9:10, a drop of water falls, 9:10-9:15, a bug dies, then he hears women laughing, glass breaking, jackhammers, doors slamming, all leading him for some reason to Grand Central Station at 2:22 PM where he sees more repeating patterns: a businessman reading the newspaper, a couple hugging, school children walking by and one always drops something, there’s always a pregnant woman standing by the ticket booth, and every day at 2:22, there’s some electrical malfunction followed by a boom.

It’s different people every day, but it’s those same repeating patterns, and I dug the hell out of that mystery.

Sarah, on the other hand, isn’t so keen on indulging Dylan’s growing obsession, and then when Jonas (Sam Reid, “Interview with the Vampire”)—her ex-boyfriend, and the currently-featured artist at the gallery where Sarah works—displays his latest piece that somehow reflects the events at Grand Central
and the triple homicide that took place there 30 years prior, Dylan naturally freaks out but Sarah wants nothing to do with whatever mystery he’s trying to unravel.

The answer is practically written in neon across the screen and it’s frustrating that the audience figures it out so far ahead of Dylan. Also, I don’t think the climax carried as much tension as director Paul Currie (“Twentysomething”) was hoping for, but in the end I didn’t hate it and it was fine.

Was 2:22 the movie I was hoping for? No, but I actually think I got a better movie than I expected. From the description, I was expecting a GROUNDHOG DAY rip-off where Dylan was reliving the same day over and over, which I also would have enjoyed, but I like it much better that he’s going from day to day,
but still seeing these same repeating patterns. I think that gives the story a depth it would have been lacking in the other scenario.

Does that make it a great movie? Not really. Enjoyable, for sure, but not something I loved so much I need to watch again with my wife just so she can experience it too. It was a movie, I watched it, it passed the time, and, like I said, I really enjoyed Huisman’s performance. Theresa Palmer was clearly not reading the performance of her fellow actor in several of the scenes they shared together, she seemed to think they were later in the movie where the real drama lay because she was way too … worked up in the earlier “this doesn’t make any sense, this isn’t really happening, it’s all in your head” scenes. And if I never see Sam Reid give another performance as, I hope unintentionally, creepy, I’ll be just fine. Seeing how unsettling he was in this one does not make me want to rush to see him play Lestat, that’s for sure. And I would almost guarantee the only reason he played as stiff as he did was trying to hide his Australian accent, as his delivery was very measured and intentional—to a distracting degree.

2:22 is not a movie you buy on DVD because you need to have it in your collection. This is an “I’ve got an hour and forty minutes to kill and absolutely nothing else to watch, let’s just grab the first movie alphabetically and watch that” streamer you put on when you’re home alone. But it had its merits, and, in the end, I don’t wish I’d picked something else. 2:22 was good science fiction—but it definitely wasn’t a horror movie on a night I really wanted to watch a horror movie.

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