Stars: Dustin Milligan, Amanda Crew, Richard de Klerk, Alexia Fast, Gabrielle Rose, Benjamin Ratner | Written by Arne Olsen | Directed by Carl Bessai
A Groundhog Day-esque action drama, Repeaters is one of those films that will fly under the radar of many despite its impressive pedigree. Penned by Arne Olsen, who has one hell of a writing CV having worked on Red Scorpion, Cop and a Half and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie amongst many others, the film follows three troubled youths – Kyle, Sonia and Mike – at a drug-rehab center who, following an electric shock, end up repeating the same day over and over again. The trio quickly embrace their new gift, having all the fun they could ever want which includes committing crimes without any fear of reprisals. However once the fun starts to get a little too dangerous Kyle and Sonia decide they want to use their “gift” to help people, while Mike finds satisfaction committing violent and depraved acts.
The idea of reliving days over and over again is nothing new in cinema, so it takes something special to make a movie stand out amongst the ever-growing crowd. Repeaters is one such movie.
Yet another example of fantastic genre cinema from Canada, the film is essentially a dark and gritty version of the Bill Murray movie. The characters, well at least Kyle and Sonia, have the same character arc as Murray’s. But it’s the story of Mike, the third member of the time-looping trio, that makes this film stand apart from Groundhog Day - that and all the death, drugs and guns!
Definitely more of a sci-fi tinged horror-thriller, Repeaters is thankfully grounded in reality by its three central actors, Dustin Milligan, Amanda Crew and Richard de Klerk, who give truly powerful performances as the emotionally scarred trio of time-loppers. Milligan gives it his all as the put upon Kyle, whose crumbling relationships with his mother and sister are the only thing keeping him on the straight and narrow as he seeks redemption from both of them. In fact the actor excels in the films latter scenes, as Kyle has to go toe-to-toe with his former friend and rehab buddy Mike – you really feel the emotion as he confronts his friend to help his family. Meanwhile Amanda Crew, as Sonia, does the best with what she’s given in what is the stereotypical role of female junkie only became an addict because of sexual abuse. Yes it’s cliched but Crew brings her usual “magic” to the role (the woman can really pull of being fragile) – she was the main reason to re-watch teen comedy Sex Drive and she almost pulls that off again…
I say almost because the real star of Repeaters is Richard de Klerk. His portrayal of the damaged Mike is an intense, intriguing and overwhelmingly polished. He puts so much into his performance – going from friend to enemy – that it’s hard to see where the line between actor and character begins and ends. de Klerk captures the manic, impulsive nature of Mike perfectly and throughout the film you can see the danger bubbling under the characters surface, until he finally explodes and lets loose come the final third.
An analogy on drug use, rehab and the quest for redemption, Repeaters is heavy on emotion and heavy on symbolism and will really appeal to those that enjoyed the likes of Donnie Darko rather than Groundhog Day.
Repeaters is on now on DVD from Signature Entertainment.