Time Trap Movie Timelines Explained and Discussed
Time Trap Movie Timelines Explained and Discussed - or how this movie might be worth ago just for the mechanics of its 'time travel'... or not. Up to you entirely. IMDB
2.6Overall Score
Reader Rating: (46 Votes)

That is the biggest cop out title I’ve ever written. And you want to know why? Because I just don’t know if I liked this movie or not. I love small budget movies that know they are small budget movies. What I decidedly do NOT like, are small budget films that don’t know that they are small budget films. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Those little films that found 50k in funding, and the screenplay has lines like this one in it:



A spaceship that spans the horizon is slowly descending out of the blue sky as it comes to subjugate the population of earth.

That’s a lot of extra to actually make happen some how. Models. Wire removal. Heck, the CG work won’t even buy you the catering necessary with 50k. So why are you even trying? And Time Trap is a movie that sort of falls into this category, and yet, totally pulls it off. Surprisingly. I think I spent the entire movie willing it not to flop just because of its aspirational loftiness.

If you are still undecided on whether to watch this movie, it might be best to consider it an updated homage to the original 1960 Time Machine movie. If that sounds like a good time, check it out. I for one still am not 100% certain what I think of it. But let’s talk it through and I’ll decide as we go!

Quick Time Trap Walkthrough

Up front… I have to admit that I might not have paid very close attention to this particular movie as I watched. Normally I have a notepad out, and take copious notes. This time, I might just have assumed there was no way I was going to talk about it here as I watched. But the ending stuck the landing in such a way that I’m here talking to you about a movie that I’m not completely sure of all the details. So, for once, I am giving you guys – the whole of the internet – a chance to take a deep breath. To let some stuff go. Ok? And you, the interweb denizens, will be better for it afterwards.

With that said, Hopper (Andrew Wilson), a professorish sort of fellow, goes hunting for his missing family in the nearby mountains. But Hopper discovers a cave with an immobile cowboy further back in the cave. And as Hopper heads further in he goes missing himself. Soon after, a few of his students (I think?) pull together to go looking for him. And when they find some interesting caves to spelunk, tragedy strikes when Furby (Max Wright), a young member of their troop, dies. But after they begin watching the GoPro footage on his body, they start to realize that something weird is happening. Because in Furby’s video, they watch as a number of days slide by, but they had only been in the cave for a couple hours at most.

With the troop trapped, and unable to get out, things start to take stranger and stranger turns. They begin to realize that the natural light, coming in from the cave openings is pulsing, and they slowing come to the realization that it is the sun progressing through the sky that is causing the light to pulse. Which, would mean, that time in the cave has stopped corresponding with time outside the cave. And if the speed of the pulsing is any indication, days are going by in about two seconds inside the cave. Or something.

But they aren’t alone in the cave, someone else is in here. And that someone is actually what killed Furby. Eventually it becomes clear there are cavemen that are also trapped in the caves, along with a cowboy. (Can you say painfully iconic characters through history?) But eventually, one of the group makes it up to the top of the tunnel and the planet’s atmosphere is trashed, the world is a dirt apocalypse, and roiled with storms. And there, high in the sky is some sort of cosmic spaceship. And soon after, they realize the pulsing of sky isn’t the cycle of a day, but the cycle of the seasons.

And as the movie powers towards its conclusion, Taylor (played by Reiley McClendon) discovers Hopper further in the cave. And just a little bit further in, they see a cosmic scrum of different characters set in a frozen fight. What is going on here? Eventually, (jumping past tons of running and screaming through the cave passage ways) seven space men intercede and extract them out of the cave. And they wake, circling the earth, on the spaceship, ready to start on this new modern life.

Time Trap Mechanics Walkthrough

So the conceit here is simple… but beguiling unless it clicks. We are going to think about it like a manual transmission. Earth, the planet surface, is humming along in 5th gear, at 55 miles an hour. (Here in Colorado we roll at 75 mph, but we can discuss intrastate highway standards another day.) When they crossed the water/wavey boundary, they downshifted into fourth gear, and slowed to 45 mph. Time on the surface continued plowing along at 55, but down a layer things slowed. And when Hopper and Taylor noticed another layer below theirs, they witnessed that this layer was running in 3rd gear, and was running at 35 mph. The clutch of the water barrier keeps the different time-speed envelopes from shredding everything in its path. My analogy fell apart there in the end. But ultimately, we know that the top earth layer was at a second is a second. And the middle layer was running at a season per second (year per four seconds?) And the layer below the middle layer, probably was a similar down shift from the previous. Which, may or may not have helped to explain matters much, now that I think about it.

Time Trap Movie Final Thoughts

Was this a great movie? No. No, it wasn’t great. The acting was a little less than mediocre. The sets were beyond cheesy (I kept thinking that sleestaks would arrive any second). The dialog was creaky and utterly devoid of thought. And yet, I was totally intrigued by the mechanics of the time and these liquid clutches that allowed for these magnetic time slippages.

But these characters, when they realize that time is flying by at the surface, and that everything they know is dead and gone, it doesn’t even register on the surface of the minds. The screenplay doesn’t even consider how orphaned these characters should feel. Not even a little bit. Heck, they don’t even more for the eco-bankruptcy of the entire planet. Or the moratorium the entirety of humanity experiences. Like rats locked in a cage, the character’s only thoughts are for escape. But escape to WHAT? There’s nothing anymore. All hope is gone!

Better yet, let’s stop and think about this movie seriously for a second. You are a cowboy, or cowgirl, I’m not being sexist here, and you stumble into this cave with this fountain of youth. There is water there to heal yourself every time you mortally wound yourself. But unless you plan to dine on your holy water, you are going to be dying regularly. Soon after your arrival, your provisions would run out, and there would be little hope for you besides mainlining the holy water in perpetuity. You would be dying constantly withering constantly.

It had a few fascinating ideas going on in it. But I’m definitely not going to be putting this movie in my THiNC. recommendations list. That is for sure. I don’t know, am I being to hard on it?

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46 Responses

  1. deKev

    Agreed with the criticism, it’s like the characters are only added onto a great concept as an afterthought, which probably explains why they bring kids along on a search and rescue operation, and then leave one such kid all alone unsupervised in the wilderness, amongst other lame plot elements.

    Still, credit’s given where credit’s due, the differential time bubble rule is observed pretty strictly throughout the entire runtime, which is far more important to me in a low budget sci-fi than believable characters or logical plot developments. This is best illustrated near the end when the various characters are rescued by the “martians”: the big sis gets pulled out first, followed by the rest of her gang who are falling off the retracted ladder. With a looser plot, there may have been too much time elapsed between the first and second rescues to break the time bubble rules. However, here it’s handled perfectly because during the second rescue, big sis can be seen wearing a futuristic garb, meaning enough time must have elapsed for her, while her companions are still in the midst of falling off the ladder, meaning it’s no more than a second or two from the first rescue from their perspective, now how cool is that?

    • Taylor Holmes

      The flaw there though is that, yes, she had time to change, but she also had time to get married and settle down in the 30 seconds she was gone… why? Because that’s YEARS worth of time on the surface! hahaha.

  2. Henry

    The nearly two stars for the “acting” is kind of generous. I totally agree with the horribly flawed-but-watchable for the THiNC-ing audience review.

  3. Lisa

    I watched this movie a few months ago and found it entertaining enough but surely not in the category of something I would ever watch again and the acting was pretty bad. I loved the concept, though, and just wish it had been executed better! Plus leaving poor terrified Furby behind was just rude. Not to mention them all not even seeming to care that the life and people they knew were long gone which wasn’t very realistic at all!

  4. Cee

    I don’t think the time rules were broken at the end. Not only is she wearing futuristic garb, but remember, she enters a water “bubble” and says that once they get up there, they’ll have all the time they’ll need. There is literally no need for water to be there unless it represents that the “Martians” have obviously figured out a way to control or manipulate the time differentials with the water, which was the source of all of the “fountain of youth” aspects of the film. They were able to revive characters from death, who were “reborn” also in a pool of water. My takeaway is that the water, however it was actually done, was placed there as a clear indication that they could slow or speed up time via its use, allowing not years to pass during the rescue.

  5. Superhornet

    2010 a space odyssey somewhat helped explain 2001 a space odyssey. This move needs a sequel to explain the first movie’s screw-ups and lazy script writing.

  6. Cris

    I think this movie is actually very interesting in its core concept and plot. It obviously would have been much better with better actors and a bigger budget. The one underlying question for me is the “water”. Does the “water” hold the key to the different speeds of time and how and why does it “heal” people and even bring them back to life? Furby was dead and Taylor was severely injured and maybe also dead. It must have to do with the water being able to slow down and even reverse time to a a previous point. The futuristic Spaceman was dialing something on his holographic wrist instrument to help heal Taylor with water. It was like he was dialing in a point in time to before he was injured. Also they must be able to monitor time because he showed them the news where they went missing and how in the future earthlings figure out how to travel thru space and time! The fact that the Conquistadors and Cavemen were fighting for the source (waterfall) may indicate that the water is the key to the time differentials and the reversal of time and possibly being able to travel thru time. This is why they were fighting for the “Fountain of Youth”. Think about that!

  7. Cris

    I think the movie overall had a good plot and story. Obviously, it could have benefitted from a bigger budget and better actors. For me the big question is how the “water” slows down or even reverses time? Furby was dead and Taylor was critically injured and possibly dead also. And the Professor was mortally wounded. How does the water affect time and “heal” and revive them. Does it take them back in time to before they were injured? What is the “water” really. You see the Futuristic Spaceman adjusting a holographic wrist monitor when he is bringing Taylor back to like. Have they figured out the water’s time/space properties and is he adjusting time to go back to when Taylor was still alive. Is this what the water does? Also, are they monitoring time sequences because he shows the kids news about their disappearance and how the human race has progressed before he dies by the pool of “water”. Also, is the waterfall that is being fought over by the Spanish Conquistadors and the Cavemen in the slowest time sequence the “source” for figuring out all of these questions? Is this that why it is called the “Fountain of Youth”? This movie should have a sequel where they could explore and answer some of these questions. Of course it would have to have Tom Cruise or Kevin Costner or someone like that in it! lol

  8. Rey

    Unsure what this was going to be, but, glad I watched. This is a surprisingly good film for an estimated $1M budget.

    The show has the potential for the making of a successful sequel(s)—or better yet, a TV series.

    The greatest fear in the world is the opinions of others, or not …

    The fear I have is for this sequel or series idea does not manifest itself. I encourage all to watch and be your own judge ….

  9. David Chawes

    Serious plot hole when one young lady goes up to the surface to get help. When she returns back into the cave after a few minutes she should have aged many years relative to her friends left behind in the cave.

  10. Lisa

    There’s a lot of plot holes in this movie that if you think too hard about you will drive yourself crazy but why would she age if she was just up there a few minutes? With a serious budget this could have been a much better movie. I actually love the concept but the execution and acting were lacking, to say the least.

  11. Travis

    Here’s what’s confusing you. She wasn’t out for 30 minutes of “cave” time, she was out for 30 minutes of “surface” time. So she aged for 30 minutes while her friends aged for a millisecond or whatever.

  12. Thomas Joseph

    David CHAWES: she would not have aged like that her time outside the cave did not move fast the time inside the cave basically froze when she reached the surface so yes if she would have waited 30 years to come back down then yes for them it would still seem like minutes. There time down there moves so slow that her going back down 30 min after she went up for them looked like she never left. And as I said even if she came back down a week a month or a year later for them would have still felt like seconds she didn’t age quicker outside the cave not really it just seems to like that to them cause they r moving so slow from there point of view but she didn’t leave the cave at all so there would be no time lapse, not for them anyway but just my opinion sorry repeated myself a bit there

  13. Brooke

    I disagree entirely! I just finished this movie and my mind was in so many directions and so confused that my eyes watered a bit (that happens when my brain starts going nuts XD). I though they did such a great job of showing how the characters’ emotions varied throughout the story; almost like that feeling you get when someone dies whether they be real or in a book. You could see how it was such a shock to them. I do agree that they could’ve builded on that emotion a little more however. I felt the setting stayed the same for too long and there was no clear plot or theme really. The ending wasn’t bad, but I wish it wasn’t a “leave it to the viewer/reader” ending. I might just be seeing this all from a teen’s perspective (which I am) rather than an adult’s (which I’m up assuming you are), but I don’t know. Either way, it was a pretty good movie.

  14. Brooke

    Lisa: I totally agree! Same thing with the Percy Jackson movies: had they gotten the budget of the Harry Potter movies, they wouldn’t be a disgrace to mankind.

  15. Brooke

    I disagree entirely! I just finished this movie and my mind was in so many directions and so confused that my eyes watered a bit (that happens when my brain starts going nuts XD). I though they did such a great job of showing how the characters’ emotions varied throughout the story; almost like that feeling you get when someone dies whether they be real or in a book. You could see how it was such a shock to them. I do agree that they could’ve builded on that emotion a little more however. I felt the setting stayed the same for too long and there was no clear plot or theme really. The ending wasn’t bad, but I wish it wasn’t a “leave it to the viewer/reader” ending. I might just be seeing this all from a teen’s perspective (which I am) rather than an adult’s (which I’m up assuming you are), but I don’t know. Either way, it was a pretty good movie.
    Also I noticed that been though it came out 2018 people are finding it now

  16. Taylor Holmes

    Did I say it was bad? Maybe I did. I definitely loved the mechanics and the idea. But found the acting and the jumps jarring. But to each his own. Glad you liked it. I definitely only talk about interesting movies. And this was a very intriguing movie.

  17. Lisa

    What’s funny is that I’m seeing this film getting a push on streaming services right now for whatever reason. It was just recommended to me a few days ago. I wonder why.

  18. Ryan

    I watched this film last night and found it quite interesting. The trip to the surface confused me for a minute until I realized that time moves 1 second in the cave per 1 year on the surface. That’s why she was able to be on the surface for a few minutes and it looked like she didn’t even leave to her friends down below. If only there could be a sequel where they discover a cave that reverses time! That would surely mess you up in the head. Like every second in a cave moves time on the surface back one year. You could essentially tune travel by jumping in each cave. That might be a problem though because after too long underground in the time reversal cave, the surface would cease to exist… Maybe move time relative by a percentage so that it could never reach zero. Anyways, you should watch this film if its late and you ran out of good movies to watch and enjoy pondering the rifts between space and time.

  19. Mark DiSessa

    I enjoyed the movie. The only flaw to me is when the girl first climbed to the surface to set off the gps beacon and when she came back, no one in the cave aged. She should’ve come back to all of them dead.

  20. Mitch Hennessy

    What makes a great movie. Sometimes it’s not only the grade A story and character development, sometimes its timing….pun intended.
    You may want a story you can discuss comparatively to “Classical Literature” course, but sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy a creative story, delivered creatively.
    This is that kind of movie. These discussions remind me of Scorsese commenting that the Avengers movies aren’t “cinema”….really? Well, whatever works for you Mr. Scorsese. I walked away from this movie feeling pretty good, and that’s enough for me.

  21. Q

    Good movie. I thank the time bubbles had something to do with the amount of the healing water in the atmosphere. The first layers only had shallow body’s of water so the evaporation of the water would be slow. The second layer was a huge water fall that put a lot of water and the air. I hint to this was the passing through moisture barrier.

    I thank at the end they found that the barrier could be diluted with a water bridge. Meaning time would gradually slow to normal the further you traveled up the water tunnel.

  22. Sheri Rodgers

    I thought the movie was fairly good and to be very interesting. I was immediately sucked in by its concept of time travel. I especially liked the pulsating of the sun in the sky. Of course that was the seasons flashing by. I found that idea fascinating and made me want more. Yes the acting wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen either. I would have liked to have seen the kids in the cave return to the surface more so we could see the planet deteriorating. Maybe Cara could climb out sooner and sees something like what Prof. Hopper discovers. Their cars completely covered by vegetation. Scared she returns but nobody believes her, so Taylor goes to check it out but when he returns to the surface the landscape is much different than what Cara had explained. This would have given the characters more time to realize and reflect on their unique and troubling set of circumstances. I would have liked to seen more interaction with the other lost time travelers in the cave, as well, as a way for the characters (and the audience) to fully understand the time warp and the water barriers. And perhaps more investigation into the frozen fight between the Spanish conquistadors and the cavemen. Explain why they are fighting and the true power of the waterfall. Although I dont think cavemen would have understood the concept of time travel but perhaps they were just protecting their territory?? I would like to see this idea developed into a TV series with more financing. It would lend more time to explore such a complex concept such as time travel and develop the characters. Netflix should produce it and really make it great. It’s a fantastic idea and one I think deserves to be expanded on. Only thing, please dont make the characters so dumb. They’re supposed to be college grads working as teaching assistants, yet they are not very smart. Leaving a 10 to 12 yo boy as look out? Come on that wouldn’t happen unless the adults were complete morons. Idk. Maybe that’s the point.

  23. Ts_

    I think instead of thinking that you’ve gotta voice every little concern on some website after watching said movie, just try watching it first and enjoying it.

  24. Cris

    Maybe you should do the same and not comment on their comments. haha. They could be practicing to be a movie critic. Just kidding. I had to comment on your comment about their comments. lol

  25. Lisa

    You are on the wrong website if you don’t like to pick apart movies. Because that’s what this site is all about. Just saying!

  26. Sean

    I agree with Sheri:

    “perhaps more investigation into the frozen fight between the Spanish conquistadors and the cavemen. Explain why they are fighting and the true power of the waterfall.”

    Definitely wanted to see way more of this third layer but it just a few seconds. Just what the hell was going on in there? They don’t need to explain everything, I was relatively happy with the ending for example, but I don’t think they even needed to show this third layer, it added nothing but questions.

    The acting seems to be a common complaint but relative to the average indie movie it was totally fine and about what I would expect from a bunch of no name actors.

    The pacing of the movie was probably my biggest complaint, e.g. the caveman stuff was silly and a waste of time, but overall it had some interesting ideas and there’s not nearly enough scifi out there so I definitely enjoyed it.

  27. Viv

    I think the young girl would have aged that was the point he said it was solstices so it was a year each flash of light…remember so even any time up there should have aged her at least a few years…relative to those in the cave! Otherwise the whole movie would make no sense.

  28. JE

    I just watched the movie. I liked it, but definitely had a few issues. Like, it seemed as if the 1st future guy had an idea of what he was getting himself into. How? How did he know to put Taylor onto the pool? Why didn’t future guy have a team with him? …the timing of the “aliens” was pretty perfect to be just as they were climbing out…why didn’t they rescue the cave people (especially if they were the last of humanity)? I have other questions but those are the main ones….

  29. Mark Smith

    I loved it and seven year old grandson watched it with and asked all the right questions. Concept was great.

  30. deKev

    @Viv, er actually, no, because the younger sis told her older sis, the one who climbed to the top, “you were only gone for like 2 seconds…”, at which point another girl then quipped “if you don’t wanna climb all the way up, just say so”. Incredulous, older sis then made the others watch the footage she managed to capture while topside in order to prove her point, only to learn that the others down in the cave were right that literally no time had elapsed for them between older sis climbing to the top and climbing back down. Watch that part again if you can, because I did, ha.

  31. Larry Bird

    I came in just looking for something to watch and I ended up enjoying the movie. Netflix should definitely be trying to make a sequel or TV show to fill in the plot holes. My take on the ending is that they weren’t Aliens but they were Futuristic Humans who had evolved to live in Space. I did enjoy it.

  32. Davon

    The Movie would have been so much more interesting if Furby would’ve came to look for them in the cave when he grew up to be an adult, because on the walkie talkie, he sounded like an adult, but later, we come to a realization that he was still the same age because he came down the cave like 2 days later, not 20 years later.

  33. Davon

    The Movie would have been so much more interesting if Furby would’ve came to look for them in the cave when he grew up to be an adult, because on the walkie talkie, he sounded like an adult, but later, we came to a realization that he was still the same age because he came down the cave like 2 days later, not 20 years later.

  34. Mitchell

    Why did they only retrieve the kids, hopper, and his family? Why not the cowboy, man in space suites, or even the conquistadors? You don’t want the native cannibals in the space ship but why only some?

    And how did they know exactly when she would put her hand through the water to grab here? You would 1) have to know hey we’re down there, and 2)wait for centuries for her to climb to the top.

  35. Jean

    Great movie. People are confused about the girl leaving but not getting older while gone. Its simple. One she leaves the cave, the time pretty much stops in the cave. And keeps going on the surface. 30 mins was 30 seconds if not less in the cave. So yeah, she aged 30 mins. I hope this helps anyone who didn’t understand.

  36. Scott

    This was a really good movie. Watch it for the entertainment and don’t criticize it so much. Was it an A movie, no, but it was still entertaining. I hope they make a part 2. I’ve seen worse acting. This was pretty good.

  37. deKev

    Glad you like it, Scott, and who knows, this might yet become a cult classic one day, if it hasn’t already. The best thing about the movie, IMHO, is the mind-boggling concept alone – time bubbles with varying rates of time passing. I believe it’s the first of its kind to make it to the big screen, although there’s a similar element at play in Freaks, which is also discussed here at THiNC.

  38. Michael

    Yes. To add to the comments about the girl leaving the cave for 30 min to use the GPS, remember that people inside the cave are basically frozen to the time perspective of those outside the cave. You see this when Hopper looks inside the cave at the beginning of the movie. He sees the cowboy with the gun just standing frozen there. Then goes back like the next day and he’s still standing in the same spot. So, the girl who went to go use the GPS was only gone for 30 min earth time perspective and virtually no time in terms of cave time perspective.


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