Project Almanac

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Project Almanac

There’s no reason why a found footage time travel movie couldn’t work, but Project Almanac doesn’t exactly set out a strong case for why one should. When high school student David (Jonny Weston) is admitted into MIT, his joy is short-lived: turns out he can’t afford the bills. Desperate for a scholarship to save the family home, he gets his sister Christina (Virginia Gardner) plus his friends Adam (Allen Evangelista) and Quinn (Sam Lerner) to help him try and put together some kind of impossible-to-ignore science project. Fortunately, his dead dad was also a scientist, and in their basement they find a bunch of stuff that turns out to be the parts for a working time machine. Unfortunately they don’t use this to speed up the film, because it takes at least half the run time before they even get to the time travel stuff, and when the teens – now including David’s big crush Jessie (Sofia Black D’Elia) – do start going back in time the results are nowhere near as mind-bending as they should be.
This does have a few fun twists here and there (their winning the lottery scheme doesn’t go as planned, and their big party in the past is well thought-out, even if it does involve them going to Lollapalooza), but when things get into Butterfly Effect territory it never ramps up the insanity to the levels required to be really memorable. Time travel movies live and die on their twists: this just isn’t twisty enough.