The latest entry in a series commenced by the 2004 Ashton Kutcher sleeper, "The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelation" improves upon a weak direct-to-DVD second effort with an entertainingly twisty tale built around the same time-travel conceit.

The latest entry in a series commenced by the 2004 Ashton Kutcher sleeper, “The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelation” improves upon a weak direct-to-DVD second effort with an entertainingly twisty tale built around the same time-travel conceit. Following After Dark Horrorfest play, this serial-killer thriller should pick up scattered offshore theatrical sales while performing in all ancillary formats.

Detroit “jumper” Sam (Chris Carmack) can go back in time for brief periods in a physically risky trance state. Cautioned against using this gift to change his own past, he nonetheless trips back to rescue then-teenage sister Jenna (Rachel Miner) from a fire — albeit at the cost of their parents’ lives. Mostly, he deploys his gift to help the police solve cold cases, explaining he’s a psychic. Against his better judgment, Sam now time-travels to ID the murderer of his girlfriend a decade before. But each trip only triggers more “Pontiac Killer” slayings and worsens Sam’s altered present, as he becomes the primary suspect. Clever screenplay, efficient direction and decent perfs create a satisfyingly creepy package that’s compact in all aspects except the very draggy end credits.

The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelation

Production

An After Dark Films release of an After Dark and FilmEngine presentation, in association with Continental Entertainment Capital, of a Benderspink, FilmEngine, Infinity Pictures production. Produced by A.J. Dix, Chris Bender, J.C. Spink, Anthony Rhulen. Executive producers, William Shively, Rob Merilees, Courtney Solomon, Laura Ivey, Stephanie Caleb. Co-producer, Brendan Ferguson. Directed by Seth Grossman. Screenplay, Holly Brix.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Dan Stoloff; editor, Ed Marx; music, Adam Balzacs; production designer, Patrick Banister. Reviewed at Century 20, Daly City, Calif., Jan. 10, 2008. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Chris Carmack, Rachel Miner, Melissa Jones, Richard Wilkinson.

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