Stasis (2017)

More than anything else, Stasis reminds me of Vincenzo Natali’s Haunter, a ghost film told from the perspective of the ghost.

Which is an odd thing to be saying about a Time Travel movie.

And yet it really isn’t that far from what we have here:

One morning, after a particularly bad party, Ava wakes up and finds there is someone else in her bed.

Only the other person happens to be herself.

Time travelers fighting a future tyranny have been leaping back into the bodies of people who have just died.  But there’s been a mistake, and even though Ava was supposed to have died of an overdose at the party, they took over her body too soon and she was still alive.

Well, at least partly.

Thus she is left a helpless observer, unseen by her family and friends, and wandering about in her ghostly state.  The only one who is aware of her is Seattle, the time agent in her body, but even she can’t see Ava.  Meanwhile, Seattle and her partner (and lover) Lancer join up with the local resistance headquarters and begin their work trying to rewrite history and put an end to the future tyranny.

However, the tyrants have a new weapon in this war, and they’ve just sent a Hunter after the local headquarters.

And the Hunter is the only one who can see the real Ava…

We’ve seen a lot of variations on time travel over the years, and I suppose the idea of “leaping” into another person’s body and timeline isn’t exactly new.

I mean, Donald Bellisario got an entire series out of the notion.

However, Quantum Leap never seemed too worried about what happened to the guy Dr. Sam Beckett leapt into.  But Stasis not only gives us a modified version of the Leap, where the only subjects chosen are those on the verge of death, but it also shows us what happens when you leap into someone still alive.  I can’t say I’ve ever been fond of this approach to time travel, but Writer/Director Nicole Jones-Dion (directing her first feature film) does manage to find a neat little twist here.  While the story would seem to be about Seattle and Lancer coming back in time and ending up in a desperate battle with the evil overlords, the story is really about Ava, her poor choices in life, and her frayed relationship with her mother.

Which you’ll have to admit is a rather neat little trick.

We don’t see much of the future, but it is well-realized, while the scenes in the modern world with the ghost Ava end up being convincing, thanks largely to the editing and a few solid bits of acting in a few scenes.  I’ll confess I’m a little amused by Seattle and Lancer worrying that the two can’t be together now that she’s in Ava’s body, because she’s too young for an adult boyfriend.

If she is, as the story suggests, supposedly fifteen, that would be a big concern, although not quite so much if they just ran away as he doesn’t look that much older than Ava.

Mark Grossman (Lancer) was actually thirty (and looks a decade younger) while a quick online search reveals that Anna Harr (Seattle) was in fact Seventeen and really doesn’t look that much younger.

But, let’s face it, that’s an old Hollywood problem, that the teens in most films are decidedly overaged.

And I suspect it is way easier to shoot a movie with a girl who’s seventeen.

On the whole, Stasis is a solid little Indie time travel film.  It’s not game changing, but it does have an interesting twist, a startling scene when Ava first sees herself, a twisty structure, and a solid character arc for Ava.  Okay, the ending is just a bit of a Deus Ex Machina (what, that device will do that???) but I’m human enough to appreciate an occasional happy ending, even if it is massively contrived.

So if you are looking for an Indie time travel film which dares to be just a little different, then Stasis is definitely worth a look.

Although, you never know, it might just disappear if they ever manage to fix the future…

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