A different take on the time travel concept, Time Addicts starring Freya Tingley and Charles Grounds is a trippy, drug-filled adventure that surprisingly and messily maps out a complicated family dynamic. Best friends Denise and Johnny agree to go on a heist arranged by their drug dealer Kane to clear themselves of their debt, only to tangle themselves up in a series of time-hopping escapades centred around an old broken-down building that houses a bag of time travelling crystal meth. The film itself is a web of rooms, scenes and pieces of different eras in time, coming together to accentuate the puzzling connection between the four rotating characters.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Sam Odlum’s feature is this maze-like structure to the storyline. Symmetry in long hallways, doorways and windows creates this idea that while there might be an escape to the outside world, it’s a destination achieved only by choosing the right path and overcoming obstacles, like a dungeon crawl. This symmetry is also the visual embodiment of how all the different stories of each character stem from one house and lead to one family. There are a lot of colour-themed rooms, sets and scenes to further accentuate this labyrinth-like effect that Denise and Johnny must move through in order to find each other.
Space and location are definitely key factors in Time Addicts. Not only does the foundation of the film’s premise hinge on them, but the low budget also uses both to create more intrigue and visual interest. For example, utilising mirrors and archways to expand the small sets. With only four characters on hand, the picture relies heavily on production to create flourish to its time travel agenda. It uses over-the-top musical scoring, and the editing combines quick cuts, assorted zooms and camera angles to emulate the hysteria and psychedelia of the drugs. However, the action sequences and choreography can at times be immersion-breaking.
Tingley blossoms into her role as Denise and becomes the main attraction as the feature progresses. The satirical script is a little too invested in scientific exposition, trying to explain away the complicated time travel mechanism and familial connections; sometimes, chaos is just much better left unexplained. Time puns are constantly embedded into the dialogue, almost like it’s winking at the audience for all the things they have yet to know.
Overall, Time Addicts is a somewhat messy and disturbing family affair that touches on how generational failures can be passed on. While it doesn’t dig too deep into its themes, this Australian picture is an unhinged time pandemonium with a tinge of heart.
Time Addicts is released in select cinemas on 27th October 2023.
Watch the trailer for Time Addicts here: