Mine Games. A psychological thrillers in which a mine is the catalyst for the strange events that plague a group of ridiculously good looking 20-somethings who are on vacation in the Washington Bend.
Get it? Mine Games?! Like “mind games.”
Yeah, the movie is about as ridiculous as the title. Michael and a group of other characters who are realistically not even important enough to name are staying at a cabin in the woods when they stumble across an abandoned mine. Things start to get weird, like seeing your own dead body weird, and spiral farther and farther out of control.
The movie ultimately ends up trying to tackle a pretty complicated theory of time travel called a “causality loop,” an idea used in the much better Triangle a few years back. This plot device is a fickle beast, the film can completely nail it like Looper or turn itself into a muddled mess. You know where I’m headed with this.
Certain hurdles are thrown in to throw the viewer off the track. A serial killer is mentioned in the early moments of the film, our lead Michael is not taking his psych meds, and a number of characters are using mind-altering substances at various points. One of the lead girls is a “medium” and numerous mentions of the ouroboros are brought up which lends itself to the idea of existing in a time loop. Ultimately, it’s all a bit contrived but you can see the good intentions behind it.
Unfortunately, a lot of the good intentions are wasted with horrible dialogue and some of the most irritating characters ever seen. Let’s not forget, these kids are actively exploring a mine while drunk and doing drugs. At one point one of them actually says he is going to kick a box of dynamite. And I would like to really highlight this wonderful bit of dialogue: “We can’t be dead, man! We’re right here!”
Richard Gray, the director, does some really good work behind the camera and the cinematography and production values are high but that can’t save it from a jumbled script. The movie does a good job at building tension but about halfway through starts destroy the foundation it has built. Things start getting really silly after this. Characters talking to themselves through thoughts from the future (or is it the past) and other characters being completely passive about meeting different versions of their friends from the future (or it could be the past.) On a number of different occasions, after being told to break the cycle, the characters decide to just forego that and ensure that the cycle continues.
It does a neat job at tying everything together but by this point it’s too late. The most irritating part of Mine Games, beyond the silly dialogue and scattered plot breakdown is the squandered potential. It’s a pretty retread with almost nothing new to add.
Mine Games opens September 12th in limited release and arrives on DVD October 7th.