The Butterfly Effect (2004)

butterfly effect poster 2004 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Some good opportunties for the actors

Story isn't as compelling as it could be

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Butterfly Effect

Studio: FilmEngine

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s): January 24, 2004

MPAA Rating: R

butterfly effect ashton kutcher prison

Reading to avoid a prison rape

Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) has always been different. His father was institutionalized and his mother (Melora Walters) fears her son could follow in his footsteps. When Evan (John Patrick Amedori) and his friends Kayleigh (Irene Gorovaia), Tommy (Jesse James), and Lenny (Kevin G. Schmidt) are involved in a tragedy, it changes the direction of their lives forever. Now in college, Evan is discovering that he can become unstuck in time. Travelling down within his own past, he can change the mistakes he made, but every change Evan makes means Tommy (William Lee Scott), Lenny (Elden Henson), Kayleigh (Amy Smart), and his mother might have to pay for his decisions.

Written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, The Butterfly Effect is a science-fiction horror film. The movie was released to mixed to negative reviews but was a box-office success.

butterfly effect lenny kills

I think this is the best reality…both those kids were psycho

I skipped The Butterfly Effect (partially because these type of movies where people make mistakes over and over again I find stressful, but also because Ashton Kutcher always kind of bugged me). I finally decided to watch The Butterfly Effect. It wasn’t a great movie, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be.

The idea of a butterfly effect has been done in great ways in other films and stories, but the movie’s way of doing it was interesting. The hypnotic nature of Evan’s own writing kind of reminded me of the idea of willing himself into the past as in Somewhere in Time. He has to find the right time and the right moment…but each time he makes it worse like a cursed monkey’s paw. I felt like the movie wouldn’t necessarily end negatively, and it did end as I expected it.

Ashton Kutcher is Ashton Kutcher. He can be smarmy, cocky, and “fragile” if he needs to be but it seems to always just cover up a real life cockiness. His character is less of a showcase since he is always the constant while Amy Smart, William Lee Scott, Elden Henson, and Melora Waters get more range from their character due to the changes in the past. The movie also features Eric Stoltz and Ethan Suplee.

butterfly effect ashton kutcher armless

Why did I end up all Lieutenant Dan?

The visuals for the film are relatively simple. When time breaks and reverses, you get flashes of what was and what happened. A similar technique was used in Run Lola Run in 1998 which in general explored the same aspects of a butterfly effect to a much more compelling and visual storytelling. If had been too much of a special effects based event, it probably would have upped the cost and not added anything to the story.

The Butterfly Effect is one of those average science fiction films, but I imagine if it hit you right, you might enjoy it more than I did. Movies like Donnie Darko and Run Lola Run tell a similar thematic story with much greater impact and depth. The Butterfly Effect tries to skirt a bunch of different genres when it feels like sticking to science fiction or horror might have been the filmmakers best bet. The Butterfly Effect was followed by The Butterfly Effect 2 in 2006.

Related Links:

The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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