Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have done it again. The filmmaking duo – known for their previous adventurous and psychologically chilling cinematic endeavours: Resolution, Spring and The Endless – have returned to the silver screen. After a three-year hiatus, they present a new, time-travelling, sci-fi thriller, once more proving that it pays off to be unsettlingly unique.
Taking place in New Orleans, Synchronic stars Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan as two paramedics who are called to a number of gruesome crime scenes. These atrocities all have one common theme: a new designer drug that transports its user to a different time. When Dennis’ (Dornan) daughter disappears after taking the substance, Steve (Mackie) – suffering from terminal cancer – takes it upon himself to use his remaining days to study the psychedelic substance and find much-needed answers. However, the further Steve experiments with time travel, the greater cost he begins to pay.
Synchronic is a Benson and Moorhead special that is chilling to the core. All-in-all, it’s an example of Earth-based sci-fi at its finest. For the first time – and much to the credit of their previous work – they are granted the opportunity to work with high-profile Hollywood stars, and in Dornan and Mackie they secured two charismatic, versatile performers. The latter is endearing in the lead role. The American actor carries large portions of this film and its dialogue solo, all the while growing a sense of excitement as the plot drives on. His Northern Irish co-star also showcases his talents and adaptability as an actor. Together the two offer a sprinkling of light-hearted, comic moments that are mixed with scenes of desperation and pain.
The character progression is more profound than what might be judged at face value. This is particularly true for Steve, who realises that human life has always been full of violence, whether that is through survival instinct or gradual evolution. The on-screen epiphanies conclude that all we can do with our own time is take small steps towards making the world a better place for others.
Moorhead expertly uses cinematic effects to morph reality and the past, applying his skillset to create an original, authentic visual experience. Much like in the work of other directors who like to delve wholeheartedly into a genre’s extremities like Christopher Nolan, it is an air of mystery that makes Benson and Moorhead’s project so captivating compared to standard sci-fi material. Their script is never too on the nose but instead leaves the viewer to connect the dots. This element prompts fan interaction, as spectators deeply connect with the movie in the process.
There is no doubt that if you are a fan of the pair’s previous output, you will adore Synchronic. After this feature, it is going to be exciting to see where the filmmaking partners venture next.
Synchronic is released digitally on demand on 29th January 2021.
Watch the trailer for Synchronic here: