Movie Reviews – Films Like Groundhog Day

The thing with lockdowns is every day is kind of the same. I can’t believe that I just used the word ‘lockdowns’ in a (fairly) serious sentence – but hey… Each day can feel a bit like Groundhog Day.

On that subject I thought I would look at some more movies with that Groundhog Day stuck-in-a-time-loop theme. And the first thing I found out was that there are quite a few. Some I had seen. Others I made a point of watching. One each day, for several groundhog-day-like days….

Here are my (brief) reviews of the time loop movies I have seen (so far). So next time you are stuck in lockdown (which may be sooner than you think), you too can go through this list and check them out…

Groundhog Day (1993)

A.k.a. the ‘original’ – as in the first one of this genre/theme that I remember seeing – and best. I have watched this one with my son and he likes it already. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched this one but every now and again it’s still great to watch. This movie is the yard-stick for all others made on this theme. Even though this one was a comedy and some other time-loop themed movies are basically repeat violence.

Palm Springs (2020)

Starring Andy Samberg – aka Rod in Hot Rod, a very funny movie I have watched several times with Dani. That was enough to get me to sit through this one. And it wasn’t too bad. Samberg plays Nyles, who attends a wedding and gets sucked into a time loop that appears in a cave following an earthquake. Unlike most other films of this genre the same thing can – and does – happen to others. One of them is Sarah, the sister of the bride and maid of honour. The two kind of team up once they realise they are stuck in the same day. After a bit of fun Sarah decides to do her own thing on each (repeat) day in an effort to break the time loop. And… well, I won’t spoil it… Fairly similar to Groundhog Day but with a few more adult themed moments. Worth watching. Quite good fun.

Happy Death Day (2017)

Theresa is a not so nice college girl. On her birthday (Monday 18th) she gets killed and has to relive the day over and over until she can find out who her killer is. But each time she is killed she gets weaker as her body somehow retains the scar tissues etc… This is a bit like Groundhog Day meets Scream (or some other slasher movie). I thought it was quite good and had a couple of good little twists at the end. A lot like the ‘original’ in that she starts off being unkind to people then turns into a better person. Oddly enough this one spawned a sequel: Happy Death Day 2U (made in 2019) which I will probably get around to watching soon.

12:01 (1993)

Made the same year as the ‘original’ but totally passed me by – until now. It stars Jonathon Silverman (one of the two lads in Weekend at Bernie’s, a daft easy to watch 80s movie – another one I have watched with Dani and he liked as much as me). He plays Barry an office worker at a high-tech electrical company that is working on a particle accelerator. Something goes wrong and the whole world gets stuck in an eternal loop, stuck in the same day. Barry receives an electrical shock just as the particle accelerator is activated and so he is the only one who can recall or realise they are all reliving the same day. He falls for Lisa one of the scientists at the company and when she gets shot he gets as many chances as he needs to solve the crime. Also starring Martin Landau (Mr. Space 1999) as Dr. Moxley.

Whereas Groundhog Day restarts at 6am This one – as the title suggests – repeats at one minute past midnight. Similar enough to the ‘original’ but still watchable. Well, the whole ridiculous idea is the perfect formula for good movies isn’t it?

Boss Level (2020)

Kind of like Groundhog Day with swords and machine guns.

It stars Frank Grillo as a retired special forces soldier who tries to escape a never-ending time loop that always end with his death. The movie co-stars Mel Gibson and Naomi Watts. A good entertaining all out action movie with lots of gore and a high body count. Although it is generally the same bodies being killed – just repeatedly… Definitely worth a watch if you don’t mind a bit of violence.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage and army PA guy who gets sucked into front line combat against an alien invasion force. The aliens are known as “mimics”. There are two main types of “mimic”; the Alpha and the Omega. The Omega is a kind of super organism with the ability to reset time. While fighting for his life in his first battle Major Cage gets exposed to the blood of an Alpha and he acquires that same ability to reset the day. Another enjoyable all action violent flick. For those who like that sort of thing.

A bit like Groundhog Day meets War of the Worlds (one version of which also starred Cruise).

ARQ (2016)

Another that just passed me by I have to admit. A Netflix movie that didn’t show up on my radar until now. This is a darker movie than the others in this list but not with the glorified body count of Boss Level and Edge of Tomorrow. The whole day does not repeat in this movie but the time loop lasts only a few hours. The loop repeats from 6.16 (a.m. I assume) to 9.16 (I think) each day in this one. An engineer has built some form of perpetual power machine – called the ARQ – that could help the planet but it turn out to be a time (loop) machine. When intruders enter his house he has to learn how to repel them as he learns more each time. After several repeats however others begin to realise it is not exactly “déjà vu” they are experiencing, and this complicates matters. It is not quite a spoiler alert to say that this movie has an odd ending…

It was watchable- just. But like so many of Netflix productions it just falls short of being really good. Is it me or are Netflix just unable to make really good movies? They always seem to be just about OK. Anyway, watch it for yourself and you decide.

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