If there's any movie subgenre I love, it's definitely that of time-travel. It's a theme that can easily fit into any action, sci-fi, drama, or more importantly, horror film. And while the genre of horror is entirely subjective, I've always found the concept of time-travel to be rather unsettling and eerie. Therefore, you may find one or two entries on this list to be films that may not be considered convential "horror." Regardless, this is my list and I found them creepy so I'm including them.
Triangle utilizes my personal favorite type of time-travel, a causal loop. For the most part, even if a movie is terrible, if it explores this particular time-travel idea I will award it many bonus points. Luckily, Triangle isn’t terrible. In fact, despite some hiccups with pacing and maybe “peaking” a little too early, Triangle is still an intensely engrossing watch.
This sequel picks up right where the first installment left off - mainly the untimely death of one Miss Lin Shaye. This is another movie that utilized the concept of a causal loop and I must say, for a blockbuster, Blumhouse hit, it was cleverly done. While I’d say Insidious: Chapter 2 is definitely worth venturing into the further to check out, I would stop there. The third movie in this franchise is an odd mess that doesn’t live up to any of the hype of the first two.
This indie flick by Nacho Vigalondo has become somewhat of a cult sensation over the years. What sets this time-travel movie apart from some of the other, more well-known movies in this subgenre is its focus on more fleeting lapses of time. None of this “traveling hundreds of years into the past in order to prevent something from happening in the future, which, in turn, will save mankind” (or something along those lines). Instead, Timecrimes shows us that it can be just as interesting to have a character take much shorter trips to the much more recent past to solve a very real problem in the present.
Filmed in the style of a mockumentary (which I love almost as much as found footage), Lake Mungo tells the story of sixteen-year-old Alice Palmer, who drowns while swimming at a local beach. As her family tries to explain the series of strange events which occur after she is buried, they unearth secrets that help to explain the details surrounding Alice's tragic death. Lake Mungo uses the idea of a causality loop, as well as psychic premonitions to unravel the mystery behind Alice’s death.
Ok, bear with me - I warned you there may be a controversial entry or two…
Donnie Darko. This is a movie that was made about 15 years ago and still manages to blow my mind every time I watch it. Director Richard Kelly’s mind-trippy exploration into time-travel and wormholes makes for one of the most compelling psychological horror/sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen. You’ll be hard pressed to find a cinephile who hasn’t seen this movie but, should you come across someone who is unable to hear The Killing Moon or Mad World without thinking of this movie, make sure the next thing they do is watch it. It’s just awesome.
Devil’s Pass is one of those movies you add to your Netflix queue but never seem to get around to watching. That being said, I think this movie is definitely worth a watch. Vaguely centered around the Dyatlov Pass Incident, Devil’s Pass will make you think twice about going camping in snowy Russia, as appealing as that may sound. The time-travel aspect doesn’t come into play until almost the end of this movie so, to avoid spoiling anything, I won’t go into detail about how it’s used. I will say that it was neat and totally unexpected. I guess you’ll just have to go watch it.
John Dies at the End
Time travel is just one of the batshit crazy side-effects of the drug ingested by the title character & his friend in this halluncinatory sci-fi/horror/comedy. Users also may experience interdimensional travel, telepathy & meat monsters.
This sci-fi mindbender made no waves when it was released in 2014, & that's a real shame. The plot centers around a group of thirty-somethings at a dinner party who begin to experience some anomalies as a comet passes by the earth. Coherence makes the most of its tiny budget & small cast, creating an unsettling exploration of quantum physics, parallel universes & interpersonal drama.
The Final Girls
The Final Girls not only explores the idea of time-travel, it also explores the concept of being able to travel into the world of B-horror movies. Main character, Max, is transported, along with a group of her friends, back to the time and place of the famous slasher flick her mother once starred in. The Final Girls has all the classic tropes one would expect to find in an 80's slasher film and uses them to its advantage. If you enjoy self-referential horror-comedies, then you should definitely give this a watch.
A Netflix impulse watch that paid off, The Caller is elevated over typical one-star Netflix horror fare by its time bending premise: a woman moves into a new apartment & begins to receive phone calls from its previous tenant. No biggie, she probably just left a few things behind, right? Uh-uh, turns out she's calling - wait for it - FROM THE PAST!
Did we miss any good ones? Let us know!