“Seven Days to Live” might be an OK country song. It’s four minutes packed with faith, family, and fighting for what’s important in life, and its time-jumping story gives its title double meaning.
Oh wait, that’s what Premonition should have been, instead of a preposterous ready-for-Lifetime mystery that squanders considerable effort from its star, Sandra Bullock.
At least that country-song name would better fit this tale, as Premonition is just a vague, meaningless spooky word. Technically, Bullock’s housewife Linda never sees into the future; Deja Vu might be more in line with her experience. While this film can’t take that recently used title, it takes its energy — and overmedicates it into Quaalude sluggishness.
Premonition also is Bullock’s second straight mild sci-fi movie with an odd random combination of weird time loops, classic Ford Mustangs and a traffic fatality. Too bad it lacks The Lake House’s mood or charm. At least that romance worked within its parameters. Premonition never concerns itself with making one lick of sense, especially in its ridiculously abrupt finale.
Bullock only can work her flinty appeal so much against so aggressively stupid a movie, but at least kicks things off as a convincing ball of contradiction. Linda jogs regularly, but smokes. She’s got OCD tendencies, but always oversleeps. She’s a committed mother of two, but has grown a bit distant from Ford-salesman hubby Jim (a bland Julian McMahon).
Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the film’s only subtle accents. They come after Linda learns Jim was fatally decapitated in a nasty highway car accident. She foregoes the waterworks for mourning the minutiae, like who will reach a serving platter and Jim’s last message on the machine.
But Linda awakes the next day to find Jim drinking coffee in the kitchen. Then the next to find he’s dead again, and so on and so forth until Linda, not really as dim as the plot requires of her, learns she’s living her calendar week from hell out of order. Day by fractured day, Linda pieces together secrets about Jim’s life, save her family, and, maybe, a way to prevent his horrific death.
That is, after all, should she choose to, given all that she learns. Freewill versus destiny proves a bit too heady for the movie, especially in religiously explaining away this phenomenon. But Linda’s mental wrangle of whether Jim’s death is a blessing or curse offers Bullock strong moments.
Early on, German director Mennan Yapo calms the film into an existential fog for one strong jump-scare. He should have gone for that vibe of quiet disturbance rather than melodrama or horror. The closet’s skeletons don’t have much meat on their bones, nor do glimpses of his severed head or the gooey carcass of an electrocuted crow in two of several bloody-shock moments.
More disgusting, and insulting, is how fast the timeline collapses, piling on contradictions like plastic explosives. It all leads to the sort of conclusion for which loud, angry audience raspberries were made — a sound that’s not nearly as catchy or pleasant as the twang of a pedal steel.