Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s SYNCHRONIC follows two New Orleans paramedics who discover a drug – Synchronic – growing popular among members of the community. A series of deaths and disappearances soon follow after the drug is ingested.
SYNCHRONIC highlights the difficulties faced by the two paramedics: Dennis (Jamie Dornan) and Steve (Anthony Mackie). Steve is fighting a personal battle as his health becomes a major concern, changing his view on life drastically. On the other hand, tension arises in Dennis’s household as his marriage to his wife, Tara (Katie Aselton), falls apart with the stress of a newborn and their daughter, Brianna (Ally Ioannides), going missing after taking Synchronic.
It becomes apparent that the drug allows users to time travel for 7 minutes and it isn’t always a pleasant trip, especially when things take a turn for the worst. Steve’s unfortunate predicament places him in the Civil War where he’s unable to return to the present day.
The film is presenting more as sci-fi horror but has heavy doses of psychological thriller elements. The film displays the characters’ distressing state of mind, as seen with Steve, especially after discovering he has a terminal illness.
Clever filmmaking is used to create an unnerving atmosphere, the use of titled shots along with the soundtrack work perfectly to add to the mystery behind the narrative. The intensity of the soundtrack and camera movements throw audiences into the deep end from the outset as we see stressful situations Dennis and Steve face on a day-to-day basis as paramedics.
The unexpected ending of the film could leave some viewers dissatisfied. There are errors in the film’s time-travel rules which can be misleading and undermines the neatness of the conclusion, although scenes set in the past worked well in the narrative as it educates the audience on American history.
Dornan and Mackie can both be praised for their roles. However, it’s Mackie who shines in the film as a ticking time bomb who cannot help himself but will make it his duty to go above and beyond to help bring Brianna back home.
While the film makes use of clichés and the time-travelling narrative could have been a little more original, SYNCHRONIC builds from a slow beginning to become an intense film as the plot thickens.