DIRECTOR Carl Bessai WRITER Arne Olsen STARS Dustin Milligan; Amanda Crew; Richard de Klerk DVD 25 March
To criticise Repeaters for plagiarising the story mechanic of Groundhog Day would be redundant. Sacrificing true originality, a rare commodity anyway, is no sin — especially as Repeaters endeavours to reappraise the existing plot structure with a more sinister theme.
It is interesting to see three characters — recovering addicts in rehab — exist knowingly in the scenario together, and this is the key factor that stops Repeaters becoming just Groundhog Day in a different skin. And it is to the filmmakers’ credit that they waste no time setting up the premise; to do otherwise would have been frustrating. The establishing scenes of the first act are rushed set-pieces riddled with hackneyed shot composition, and the plot is forced through to the stage where they can demonstrate how they are going to progress the story differently.
The characters are surprisingly well developed, as a result of both the script and acting, and are not prematurely forced into conflict — this comes at a natural pace and enhances the plot significantly when it arrives, creating an interesting counterpoint to the more familiar Groundhog Day scenario as the characters are conflicted against each other and not just the phenomenon. It also provides a counterfoil to the occasionally clichéd dialogue that the two newly formed protagonists have to deliver.
The element of horror is restrained until the third act where it is released unfettered. It delivers a satisfying unpleasantness without resorting to scenes that fail to progress the script or characters. Attempts to foreshadow the ending are numerous, and ultimately telegraph it with limited subtlety. This is of little consequence as the conclusion was always unavoidably obvious. This notwithstanding, it was satisfying when it arrived. Accepted for what it is, Repeaters is an enjoyable experience, and admirably avoided becoming simply Groundhog Day in another guise. Ultimately this is a fun premise and there was no shame in experimenting with it further.