“Premonition” is like the preview, just longer, much longer
Credit any film that can keep its audience interested for the duration. But let’s face it, for certain movies the final payoff really matters. Comedies and action films can survive a less-than-climatic ending if the rest of the story provokes enough laughs and/or excitement. But with most suspense thrillers– like the new “Premonition”– the film generally rewards (or at least should reward) the viewer with an “a-ha!” type of response. (Few filmmakers have done this better in recent years than director M. Night Shymalan).
“Premonition’s” lack of a decent, or really, any payoff at all, is not even its biggest faux pas. Neither is, surprisingly, its handling of the “time paradox” issue that films involving time travel or time manipulation rely upon. Simply put: the film, like the character Sandra Bullock plays, is droll and uninteresting. When Linda Hanson (Bullock in full Valium mode) is greeted at the door by a sheriff’s deputy who announces her husband’s death in a car accident, and the next day he appears to be alive and well, we have the makings of what might be called “Groundhog Death.”
But do we care? Bullock is a fine actress, but as in her last film (“The Lake House”), her character moves in a somnambulant state and it’s hard to feel her loss when she and her chilly hubby (Julian McMahon of TV’s “Nip/Tuck”) seem to be enduring their marriage more than enjoying it. Twists surface, (Who greased the casket?), and many go unexplained. While other turns (Is there another woman?) seem to hint at an increase of tension. But it’s all a tease.
The scariest thing in the movie is the unintentionally creepy, Lithium-prescribing psychiatrist played by Peter Stormare (“Minority Report”), who seems to have taken interpersonal relations classes from Hannibal Lecter. Linda seeks the advice of a priest who blames her odd experiences on her declining faith. What? Clearly, her bad luck in choosing ill-advising therapists seems to spill over into her choice of spiritual advisors as well.
It’s not that the film’s pace is overtly slow; it moves along quickly enough that you may not catch the plot holes until after the film’s conclusion. But by that time the thrill, or any sign of it, is gone. The trailer provides “Premonition” with a dose of its own prophetic recipe. Having seen it there’s no need to see the film.
Rated PG-13 for some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language.