Director-duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have been chipping away for the past decade, carving themselves a specific niche in cerebral horror-tinged sci-fi with a comedic undercurrent, usually centred around male millennials.

Much like The Endless or Resolution, their newest offering Synchronic shares the same grainy cinematography coupled with trippy and convoluted plots, as equally baffling as they are absorbing. Only here, they’ve opted for Hollywood stars as opposed to jobbing actors, non-actors or even themselves.

Synchronic examines the time-altering effects of the titular-named designer-drug through the prism of New Orleans paramedics Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan), as they find themselves amidst a drug epidemic and are called to treat a series of gruesome injuries. Their involvement deepens once Dennis’ own daughter mysteriously disappears.

The scenes here are characteristically long; the directors relish in taking time to set the tone and build their characters. The drama is prolonged and simmering, further enhanced by perpetually dim lighting and a fashionably jarring electronic score. The supernatural plot points we’ve all been waiting for are only really explored after a big revelation, allowing one of the men to experience the full effects of the drug’s time travel capabilities. Luckily, it’s worth the wait as both leads are on top form, showcasing a natural bromance-rapport that doesn’t flinch in the face of a slightly saccharine ending.

It almost all works; Synchronic feels fresh, revelatory even. If it weren’t for a somewhat clunky ending where Benson and Moorhead attempt to visually explain the time-shift logistics, this would be a masterpiece.

An enthrallingly complex film, one that deserves second viewing and will mature well with age. But mostly, it’s a film that speaks of the directors’ great imagination and near-genius.



CAST: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton, Ally Ioannides 

DIRECTORS: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

WRITER: Justin Benson

SYNOPSIS: Two paramedics’ lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of ghastly deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, time altering effects.