No-Budget Nightmares: The Timeslip (2011)

Full confession: I consider John Chance, the co-director of THE TIMESLIP, a friend.

Sure, he’s one of those ethereal friends that you sometimes make on the internet, where people of similar interests come together based almost entirely on shared experiences. But I respect the work that he does, and we both appreciate the rare pleasure of watching people get torn to bits on film. In fact, if you look at that poster up there, you’ll already find a quote from me. Wow, I’m famous! So, I won’t be doing a lot of criticizing here – though I do think THE TIMESLIP is a very worthwhile short film, and one that I hope you get a chance to see.

But let me explain. A few years back I decided to start watching a box-set of 100(!) low and no-budget features released by Millcreek – you might recognize the name – under their Pendulum Pictures banner. Millcreek specializes in those huge 50 pack box-sets of public domain films, but this was something a little different. These were films that had little (or no) distribution, many of whom were strictly of the “three friends and a camcorder” variety. No money. No crew. Often very little talent.

And I was fascinated.


Now, don’t get me wrong. The worst of the films in this collection are the worst that you’ve ever seen. And, I don’t say that lightly – these are the WORST films you will EVER see. We’re not talking about PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE or MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE, we’re talking about inaudible dialogue, inept acting, locked down cameras, glitches, the works. Scripts made up on the spot. The fact that some of these movies (and I use that word lightly) got any sort of distribution should give immense hope to the young filmmakers who are reading this. Yes, some day I will tell you about HIP HOP LOCOS. And you will tremble.

So you’ll excuse me for shuddering a bit before throwing myself head-on into watching 2005’s THE VEIL, a black and white, two and a half hour zombie film made for nearly nothing. While most no-budget wonders – and particularly those in that collection – just barely crawled to the 90 minute mark, this was a bloated, epic, monster of a movie. And while your own tolerance levels may vary, I was enthralled and very, very impressed.

After I wrote up my scattershot thoughts and posted them, John Chance (who starred in the film, which was directed by his brother) contacted me and thanked me for my opinion – a rather classy gesture considering I was far from entirely complimentary. And later we reconnected through various social networks, and he offered me a chance – now that he’s pursuing his career in Los Angeles – to get a preview of his latest short film.

So, let’s talk about it! THE TIMESLIP follows A visibly shaken and confused “modern man” (played by Richard Chance) finds himself randomly whisked from the busy streets of London – courtesy of the titular timeslip – and placed in a seemingly endless forest where he soon finds himself pursued by a collection of tribesman. Working again from minimal resources, the brothers show admirable confidence in their choice to use nearly no spoken dialogue and instead rely entirely on a wonderful (and diverse) soundtrack and their visual acumen. Tension wrung from early scenes builds to a formidable chase through the woods, eventually dumping the lead quite unceremoniously where he began.

Lensed in both the UK and US, the short has a definite TWILIGHT ZONE vibe, which should play well with genre fans, and – having obviously learned much from their experiences on THE VEIL – is an absolutely perfect length. Long enough to be intriguing, but short enough not to wear out its welcome. The theme of a “civilized” man forced to face more the more primal parts of himself isn’t totally original – DELIVERANCE and its ilk definitely mined the territory – but the sci-fi spin and unique imagery makes for a fun, energetic time all-around. It’s currently making the festival circuit, but if you get a chance – definitely check it out.

Join us this week for an interview with The Timeslip’s John Chance.



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