‘Premonition’ movie review: thriller a bad omen for star Sandra Bullock

A potentially intriguing premise is completely and irrevocably mishandled in director Mennan Yapo’s Premonition, a misguided thriller that often seems at odds with itself.

Sandra Bullock stars as Linda Hanson, a housewife with two children living a conventional existence until a police officer arrives at her doorstep, informing her that husband Jim (Julian McMahon) has been killed in a car accident.

The next day, however, she wakes up and discovers Jim alive and well; passing it off as a bad dream, she continues her daily routine. But the following morning hubby is dead again; Linda soon realizes (with unlikely precision) that she is living the days of the week out of order. Can she change the future? Does she want to?

The biggest problem here is the passiveness of the leading character. Linda doesn´t even try to do anything out of the ordinary until the final reel: in the past, even knowing of her husband´s impending demise, she takes the kids to school and does laundry (a hilariously melodramatic scene focuses on rushing to get the sheets inside before it rains) and in the future she makes funeral arrangements.

Husband is already dead, yes, but wouldn´t you at least check the lottery numbers knowing you´ll wake up in the past? Director Yapo is mostly to blame, as he mostly ignores the time-travel premise and focuses on bland melodrama: Linda discovers her husband was thinking (just thinking) of having an affair, and thus deems it might be OK to let him die.

Ending is one of those unbelievably bad ones that a writer might find ironic or interesting but works in no other way with the rest of the film.

Unintentional comedy is played to the hilt during a scene in which bumbling caretakers fumble a casket, jolting it open and spilling a severed head which rolls around on the pavement.

Such a scene would likely never work in a drama, but the straighter it´s played here, complete with overbearing music and a hysterical Bullock, the funnier it gets. Scenes like this, and the general premise, make the film perversely watchable but by no means good.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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