A romantic tearjerker that lacks the courage of its convictions to become the supernatural thriller it wants to be, "Premonition" runs the gamut from tragedy to love story to mystery to even a B-grade horror movie where jump scares are thrown in to liven things up. The machinations of the screenplay by Bill Kelly (1999's "Blast from the Past
") are a total mess; considering that nothing adds up in the end and the would-be carefully conceived plot self-destructs in an abyss of gaping holes, it is difficult to understand why a star of Sandra Bullock's caliber would agree to get involved. The actress goes the limit in making her character plausible and the emotions she feels seem real, but what surrounds her is little more than glossy tripe.
Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) has a seemingly perfect lifea loving husband, Jim (Julian McMahon); two adorable young daughters, Megan (Shyann McClure) and Bridgette (Courtney Taylor Burness), and a beautiful home. In an instant, her idyllic surburban existence comes crashing down with some unimaginable news: Jim, who had been away on business, was killed in a terrible auto accident. Linda barely has time to tell her children and grasp the situation before she awakes to find her spouse still alive and time turned back to three days earlier. The next morning, he is dead again and she is attending his funeral. It eventually becomes clear to Linda that she is living the last seven days of her life out of order. As she works to put all of the pieces together, the mystery behind Jim's death and the events leading up to and proceeding it begin to reveal themselves.
Or so it would seem. Directed by Mennan Yappo and photographed via a slick, intentionally off-kilter veneer by Torsten Lippstock, "Premonition" keeps the viewer's attention despite frequently spinning its wheels and jerking the viewer around for no good reason. There is definitely interest built as the one-week time frame unfolds out of chronological order and the mystery deepens, but it is all for naught. The climactic twists reveal precious little and don't even attempt to explain the whats, hows and whys of the supernatural phenomena that has occurred. Furthermore, the story collapses under the barest of scrutiny, leaving one feeling frustrated and cheated. On the basis of the problematic script alone, the film should have never been greenlit.
What saves "Premonition," if only a little, from being a complete waste of time is the relationship between Linda and Jim. This becomes the focal point in the second half and wrings out a few moments of surprising poignancy as Linda senses a disconnect between them and catches on to Jim's deceptive extramarital activities. As a study of a dissolving marriage that is suddenly reclaimed by a shared love for each other, the movie is tougher and more truthful than expected. Were director Mennan Yappo to have kept with this premise and thrown out all of the bells and whistles of its silly corkscrew plot, he might have been onto something. Likewise, if the movie wished to be scary or threatening in the least, then he didn't push enough in that direction for it to take off. What is left, then, is a middle-of-the-road diversion done in by a refusal to play fair.
"Premonition" is a technical ace; in addition to the stylish cinematography (watch for the swerving establishing shot of the church), the layered music score by Klaus Badelt (2006's "Poseidon
") alternates between hauntingly creepy and more commercially dramatic without wading too far into sap. As Linda, Sandra Bullock (2006's "The Lake House
") is dutifully committed in a leading performance of subtle eloquence, and Julian McMahon (2005's "Fantastic Four
") does affecting work in his later scenes as Jim is forced to come to terms with where he stands in his marriage. Supporting parts by Nia Long (2006's "Big Momma's House 2
"), as Linda's best friend Annie; Amber Valletta (2005's "The Transporter 2
"), as Jim's mistress Claire, and Peter Stormare (2006's "Nacho Libre
"), as a doctor Linda confides in, are strictly perfunctory. By the time "Premonition" reaches its moronic conclusion, the strong points only qualify as thatsparse rays of light in a ramshackle cinematic tapestry that makes a fool of its audience.