Thursday 23 March 2017

Movie Review: Premonition (2007)

A supernatural psychological drama, Premonition offers an intriguing premise but is handicapped by sloppy attempts at sappiness.

The marriage of Linda and Jim Hanson (Sandra Bullock and Julian McMahon) has hit the doldrums. The passion has seeped out despite a seemingly idyllic life, two young daughters and a large house in the suburbs. Things get much worse when Linda learns that Jim has died in a fiery car crash on the highway while on a business trip. Linda's mother Joanne (Kate Nelligan) and friend Annie (Nia Long) arrive to offer comfort.

But the next day Linda wakes up and Jim is still alive. Dumbfounded, she starts to question her sanity. Other scary incidents over the coming days include one of her daughters smashing through a glass door, and a gory encounter with a dead crow. Not knowing what each new day may bring and confused over the health of her marriage and the sequence of events in her life, Linda reaches out to psychologist Dr. Norman Roth (Peter Stormare), but he may be more of a hindrance than a help.

Directed by Mennan Yapo and written by Bill Kelly, Premonition plays with the idea of a mind under stress mimicking a marriage spiralling in all the wrong directions. The film offers a puzzle built on jumbled time, and once the framework is set, all sorts of possibilities emerge. Premonition in this case is a vivid experience which may have either already happened or could still be prevented, and with the failing dynamic between Linda and Jim, she has interesting choices to make.

The theme of preordained destiny or a future potentially shaped by human decisions bubbles to the surface, and Premonition deserves credit for presenting an eternal debate through a fresh lens. The final third of the film veers towards some maudlin moments, and Linda's last-ditch attempts to save her marriage are less than convincing.

Brief but effective horror moments punctuate the film and add to the sense of unease. The encounters with the glass sliding door and the dead crow provide opportunities for gory and sharp shocks, signposts that all is clearly not well in Linda's week.

Sandra Bullock capably carries the weight of the film, mixing incredulity with determination while handling the time shifts with increasing confidence. The rest of the cast members are given relatively little to do, with Julian McMahon operating at a particularly bland television movie level.

Premonition offers decent quality and thought-provoking entertainment without necessarily reinventing the wheels of time.

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