One must strike a delicate balance in order for a film like “Premonition” — in which a housewife foresees her husband’s death and must act to prevent it — to be successful. The premise lends itself so readily to absurdity that unintended comedy is almost unavoidable.
Mennan Yapo, director of “Premonition,” is not able to avoid the pitfalls, and I’m not sure how hard he even tried. What use is there in having the husband’s severed head accidentally fall out of the coffin? That isn’t creepy or scary; it’s over-the-top and hilarious. How can we be expected to take the movie seriously when it’s behaving in such a fashion?
Sandra Bullock plays Linda Hanson, the housewife who becomes unstuck in time and keeps waking up on different days immediately preceding and following her husband Jim’s (Julian McMahon) death. She’s told on Thursday that he died on Wednesday; when she wakes up the next morning it’s Monday, and the car accident hasn’t happened yet. Next thing she knows it’s Saturday, the day of the funeral and the bumbling, head-dropping mortuary employees.
As Linda tries to figure out the timeline involved in saving Jim’s life, the film tosses in other mysteries to pad out the running time. The couple has two daughters, the older of whom (Courtney Taylor Burness) suddenly has recent injuries to her face. Linda finds a dead bird in the backyard and ominously smears some of its blood on the sliding glass door. An anonymous blonde (Amber Valletta) turns up at the funeral. These details, all of them underlined in some way, prove to be distractions from the central issue, and I found myself frequently wishing the movie would just get on with things. Either she can prevent Jim’s death, or she can’t. Let’s get to that point and find out which it is.
Even more wasteful is the way the film brings up deeper philosophical issues, then doesn’t do anything with them. “If I let Jim die, is that the same as killing him?” Linda wonders at one point. She even visits a priest (apparently she is a lapsed Catholic, though this is the first we’ve heard of it) to discuss fate and destiny. But is any point or conclusion ever derived from these brief forays into philosophy? Nope. Just a rehashed “Twilight Zone” plot stretched over 90 minutes while Sandra Bullock stumbles around working on her “baffled” face.
C (1 hr., 36 min.; )