Time Freak Blu-ray Review

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Freak is Right

The philosophical question of Time Freak is harmless. If, given the opportunity to do so, would going back and fixing past mistakes irreparably harm or help one’s life?

The moral question of Time Freak is an absolute disaster. If, given that same opportunity, would repeatedly going back in time to manipulate a woman to love you work? Blissfully unaware of the contemporary social issues, Time Freak settles on “yes.”

Were Time Freak a production of the ‘80s, maybe it survives through kitsch value, the same as say Weird Science does. A film of its time, problematic, but innocent in that period’s values. Time Freak exists in 2018. It’s unclear how no one considered the harmful thesis.

Asa Butterfield stars as Stillman, a creepy physics geek who fails in a relationship. He does the logical thing – constructs an entire flow chart of everything he ever did with Debbie (Sophie Turner) over the course of their year together. That chart looks like the process of a serial killer, filled with red lines and smiley faces. He treats social interactions like a math problem.

Time Freak leaves with the message this is all okay

Stillman builds a time machine so he can travel to every instance circled in red (the bad times) and make them right. He resets some a dozen times or more, looking for the right words, the right response, or the right body language to turn Sophie to his cause. Good luck defining it legally, but this reeks of assault in some form. If not, abusive emotional manipulation.

But hey, Stillman travels through time with best bud comic relief Evan (Skyler Gisondo). He likes getting high, no excuse that he too uses this system to chase down a woman. She’s never even given a name. With Evan, Time Freak is looking for an opportunistic out. It’s all for laughs, playful and kooky. Yet Time Freak plays like a typical romantic drama; it simply erases much of the dramatic weight when seeking a positive outcome.

Spoiler: Time Freak’s greatest sin is the ending. Debbie learns of the time machine, the emotional control, and that Stillman learned nothing, nor did he change. He’s still the same guy. They embrace. She’s cool with it all, leaving Time Freak with the message this is all okay. Do what you need to do to get the girl, even if that means inventing life altering technology, then using it to abuse the one you love.


Sporting excellent clarity, the digital camerawork of Time Freak transfers well to Blu-ray. With little noise to deal with, Lionsgate’s encode is free to handle the rest without intrusion. Coupled with the outstanding facial definition on display, this all comes together in an attractive package.

Sharpness stays high and consistent. That’s true for fidelity too. Contrast helps, rich and pure, plus with the addition of dense black levels to act as the counter, Time Freak nails the dimensional side too.

Color veers warm primarily, but without faulting flesh tones. Other hues have space to breathe. A number of scenes use a wide palette, attractive in their saturation. Lionsgate’s disc doesn’t struggle or introduce artifacts.


When the time machine first powers up, the LFE does too. It’s a strong hum. A late night rave generates some low-end depth too as music kicks in. That’s about it for the subwoofer in Time Freak’s DTS-HD track, but the needed extensions give great range when needed.

Surrounds have their moments too. Butterfield, at one point, runs off-screen, his yelling tracking through the rears. That’s great. Ambient material comes into play, handled well. Stereos pick up what’s needed. For a small time feature, this is some fine mixing.


Both included commentaries include writer/director Andrew Bowler. On one, he’s alone. On the second, he’s joined by a trio of producers. There’s a nice featurette that runs nine minutes, speeding through the production. Finally, there’s the original short (11:25) Time Freak’s feature length version is based on.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Time Freak
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Like an outcast from another decade, Time Freak’s astonishing blindness to social stigmas leads to a creepy, unnerving, one-sided romance.

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