Review: Tempus Fugit

Urban horror short based on science and myths that blends mythology, science and superstition with mental illness.

This 24 minute short film is part of the Filmgrøss x 4 horror anthology and is the only film of the four that takes place in an urban setting. It distinguishes itself also for being the only film of the four that is more character driven and with horrors taking place internally, rather than physically. It is also the only film shot in black & white.

A young doctor is given a mysterious box by a mental patient. The box contains a special mechanism that seems to predict dates in the future. The doc and his math teacher girlfriend does not really believe the box can do what it seems to be doing, but the box takes it revenge by showing off.

Creepy boxes of unknown origin that can do evil things are nothing new, but then again innovation was not really the motivation behind this anthology. Tempus Fugit blends mythology, science and superstition with mental illness and it becomes a soup that never quite catches on. There is no tangible fear, at least not until the final scenes, and the cold approach of the main characters to the box rubs off on you as a viewer. There is also little chemistry between the actors, whom we don’t get to care so much for. The problem is possibly that the box itself isn’t very credible. We don’t know where it is coming from. Had a witch doctor or mad professor invented it, we would have believed in it, but now we are only shown its capabilities and we have no reason to take in what we see.

One brief gore scene at the end is worth waiting for, although it is also in black & white which in this case does not strengthen the impact. Maybe the director can be excused though, as he is normally a documentary director.

Rated 5 of 10.

Directed by Even Benestad.

Norway, 2009

 

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