Ever got that feeling that you’ve somehow already experienced what you’re going through now? That’s deja vu – and there are two explanations for it in movies. First, experiencing deja vu is a sign of a glitch in the Matrix – which means that you’re actually living in a simulated reality. But let’s assume that this world is the real one (and we’re not actually plugged into a giant artificial simulated reality like in The Matrix). That leaves us with the second explanation – that you have actually lived through this before, and you’re stuck in a time loop – like in Happy Death Day 2U.

Often times, when the protagonist is stuck in a time loop in a movie, it is a plot device which tells us that the protagonist needs to learn a particular lesson and they’re forced to keep repeating the same day until they can figure it out. The subconscious appeal of such time loop movies is that the heroes get the luxury of reliving the same day rectifying their mistakes – something we don’t get to do in the real world. That’s why time loop movies are so popular – and why deja vu is such a creepy concept. Here are six movies that took that time loop premise and dialled it up to eleven. Which is your favourite time loop movie?

 

1. Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day. Credit: IMDB

Groundhog Day. Credit: IMDB

Say “time loop film” and the first movie that pops into everyone’s mind is Groundhog Day. Although it wasn’t the first such film, it’s certainly the most iconic. Grumpy, negative Phil Connors (Bill Murray) finds the day repeating itself endlessly, and even suicide won’t stop the time loop (note: suicide does not solve anything, ever). Eventually, he discovers that being a better person and learning to love is what gives him happiness in reliving each day, and when he finally resigns himself to his fate (but learns to be happy), he escapes the time loop.

It’s a classic story, and a feel-good one too. And if you’re wondering, Groundhog Day is an actual festival that occurs on 2 February, which means we might all have been living through a time loop not too long ago…

 

2. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Credit: IMDB

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Credit: IMDB

The anime film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was critically acclaimed and its main character was the usual staple of many bishoujo (magical girl) animes – a ditzy but well-meaning girl who gained the super power of jumping through time. As with many other bishoujo characters, she first used her powers for the most frivolous of reasons – before learning that [spoiler] she only had a finite number of uses of her time travelling ability [spoiler] and that the stakes were much larger than she had expected.

It was a heartwarming, touching film that relied on strong character development to resonate with audiences. The twist certainly helped, although it was more of what the main character did that made the film so memorable.

 

3. Predestination (2014)

Predestination. Credit: IMDB

Predestination. Credit: IMDB

Predestination was a time loop film with a huge twist. It was about a time travelling policeman who was out to stop another time travelling terrorist, and it starred Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook. Who did they play? Well, the reason why we’re being so coy about their character roles is because it turns out that [spoiler] the time travelling policeman was his own mother, father, and the time travelling terrorist too [spoiler] – all thanks to the wonders of time travel. It’s not technically a time loop in the traditional sense of what we see in films, but it is a loop in the sense that there’s no discrete beginning and end to the sequence of events.

When you finally understand the implications of all the events in the film, it blows your mind. You could barely grasp the concept and feasibility of all the events in the film, and it felt like a forced, tenuous connection. But when you went home and thought more and more about it, you’d realise that it was the only logical sequence of events that could occur.

If you’d like an intense, intellectual time travel film, then Predestination‘s for you.

 

4. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

The Edge of Tomorrow. Credit: IMDB

The Edge of Tomorrow. Credit: IMDB

Predestination wasn’t the only time loop film to come out in 2014. Science fiction blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow also hit cinemas in 2014, starring Ethan Hunt Tom Cruise and a pre-Mary Poppins Emily Blunt, who have to work together to prevent Earth from being completely invaded by hostile aliens. The catch? The aliens [spoiler] have the ability to travel back in time every time they lose a battle, until they win – but Tom Cruise’s character gains that ability and learns how to defeat the aliens [spoiler], which is a bit of a twist on the usual time loop scenario.

Don’t worry. As with every other role, Tom Cruise’s character saves the day even after losing his time looping ability. There are plans for a sequel, but it means that both Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt have to be free at the same time – and these two popular talents have had a hard time trying to synchronise their schedules.

 

5. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame. Credit: IMDB

Avengers: Endgame. Credit: IMDB

It’s little more than speculation at this point (since Disney/Marvel love being all mysterious and keeping secrets), but it’s been theorised that Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War, will involve a hefty bit of time travel. Why? Well, it’s down to the fact that Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) has the ability to time travel, as Samuel L. Jackson has leaked. And then there’s that very telling quote from the wielder of the Time Stone (the Eye of Agamotto) himself, Doctor Strange:

We’re in the endgame now.

Which, you know, just so happens to reference the title of the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War. Now, we’re betting that the Avengers won’t be able to make things right on their first try at time travel, so there’ll be multiple attempts to stop Thanos. Kind of like… a loop? Since they’re replaying events that have happened before, but are trying to change the outcome of said events?

If we’re right, and Avengers: Endgame does turn out out to be some sort of time loop film… Kevin Feige, you know who to hire for the 5th Avengers film.

 

6. Happy Death Day (2017)

Happy Death Day. Credit: IMDB

Happy Death Day. Credit: IMDB

Happy Death Day was a sleeper hit. It had a relatively simple plot – bitchy cheerleader Tree (played by the relatively unknown Jessica Rothe) wakes up from a hangover and gets murdered, only to wake up the next day and discover she has to relive the same day’s events over and over again. Her only way out was to discover who her murderer was (he/she wore a mask) – but actually, the real lesson was for her to learn selflessness and prevent the murderer from killing anyone else as well.

It sounds formulaic, but the $4.8 million film ended up grossing $125.5 million in total, meaning that it made a profit of over 25 times its cost! No wonder they producers went ahead and started on a sequel, Happy Death Day 2U. They’ve also promised to answer many of the questions raised in the first film and put to rest or confirm all the theories we’ve all had about Tree – like her bracelet and her mother.

 

Happy Death Day 2U. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Happy Death Day 2U. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

If you’re itching for more time loop film action, then Happy Death Day 2U is the perfect movie for you! It’s the sequel to Happy Death Day, and as far as sequels go, it’s out really quickly after the first film! Happy Death Day was out in the third quarter of 2017, and Happy Death Day 2U will be out in February 2019, so that’s only a little bit more than a year to write, direct, edit, and produce the film. Jessica Rothe returns as Tree – but as she discovers, preventing her own death is infinitely simpler than preventing other horrific outcomes – all of which she faces in Happy Death Day 2U.

Let’s hope everyone survives in Happy Death Day 2U!

 

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Credits: Golden Village Cinemas, IMDB,

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