The Butterfly Effect part three start off with a brutal murder – much bloodier than anything were used to seeing in these films. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
Everything about this worries me – the after dark productions are meant to give exposure to small indie films that couldn’t get made otherwise, and a sequel is a weird choice… As if somebody bought the rights to the franchise and intended to crank out low-budget sequels one after another, match the way Dimension has done with Hellraiser and Children of the Corn.
Our main character has a reputation as a psychic cop, a profiler like Will Graham in Red Dragon. His task is to solve the mystery of his dead girlfriend, and his dilemma how to use the Butterfly Effect to do that.
You can already see he’s a practitioner of the Butterfly Effect. We are not slowly discovering it this time, it’s not a secret or a surprise. The skill is a firmly established thing, approached with a methodology to maximize and monitor it (using a bthtub full of ice and electrodes to monitor his vitals). He has a mentor who cautions him about using it, in particular using it to change its own past and timeline. It serves as both exposition and foreshadowing, but the almost casual approach to the Butterfly Effect almost robs it of its mystery. Basically the series has shifted from horror edged sci-fi to superhero without a costume, much like Jumper or Wanted.
Still, the suspense ramps up as he makes his first jump back to try and save the girlfriend and discovers the murderer, but as it always does, things take a turn for the worse. We are treated to more gore. More and importantly, in the new timeline there are more murders. His time jump created a serial killer which he must now stop or prevent from ever existing.
It’s an interesting premise, and makes for a very different kind of film than what we’ve seen before in the series… Indeed, it almost feels like fan fiction set with in the Butterfly Effect universe. It feels as if it were written by someone obsessed with the mechanics and rules of the power and the chaos theory driving it. The part of me that loves reading sourcebooks and who’s who reference books really digs that. They don’t overdo it, it’s kind of like a television pilot – it’s enough that someone who hasn’t seen the previous films will be able to understand what’s going on in what is otherwise a solid but average film. I do need to mention, it’s got a great ending, with a curious twist. As far as quality goes, it fits right in with the rest of this box set collection, however despite some impressive gore, it’s not horror and that does make it the odd man out. The simple story entertains but makes it forgettable.