Updated: Mar 3, 2022
A 90s British sitcom is taken over by clones of the lead actor and descends into chaos.
As evidenced by his work on Double Tap, when the time comes to descend into the mind of Eros Vlahos, it is wise to prepare for a wild ride. This film goes hard on the concept until it literally overwhelms you, with Vlahos taking the settings and premises we know and slowly distorting them until the entire genre has shifted.
Opening with a classic Channel 4 ident, the opening third of the film carries the aesthetic of a classic 90s sitcom, complete with low definition picture, 4:3 aspect ratio and what initially appears to be a canned laughter track. The Only Fools and Horses-esque sitcom being presented is set in a clock repair shop run by a father (Adam Buxton) and his two teenage kids, his aloof grungy daughter (Ella Purnell) and layabout son, Tim (Asa Butterfield). The retro tropes are laid nice and thick and stretched to their credible limits with very self-aware over the top acting as well as every line of dialogue and just about every prop being some kind of time-based pun.
Vlahos takes his time not to rush to the inciting incident, making sure we are well-settled into the tone of the film when he introduces the second Tim. It is at this point that we realise just how meticulously the 90s sitcom trappings have been applied, as in a jarring split second we are catapulted out of the reality of the show into something else entirely. The fuzzy 4:3 images become crisp, colourful 16:9. The sturdy studio camera shots become handheld shaky cam and overshoot the boundaries of the set, revealing an ominously illuminated live studio audience. Even the sound mix shifts to an unsettling clarity.
The sudden application of a modern style is done so masterfully that we become unsettled at the sight of the familiar. So well done is the revelation of something being wrong that even the cast cotton on at different speeds. From that point the situation is warped further and further until the inevitable breaking point is reached. The variety in the reactions of the three central characters to the continuous appearance of more and more Tims serve to make the sequence of events more confusing more unsettling and eventually, straight up terrifying.
Perhaps one of the more interesting things about this film is how its unnerving deep dive into surrealist horror, like Double Tap, is actually quite funny. Aside from the actual sitcom aspect of the premise, the same reality twisting curveballs that put you on edge also spark more than a few chuckles. It is the ability to bounce between extreme reactions that makes Right Place, Wrong Tim such a compelling watch.
Editor and frequent collaborator Flaura Atkinson applies her remarkable ability to create a frenetic feel and tangible sense of panic with quick cuts without losing the flow or geography of the scene. This in combination with the inventiveness of Edgar Dubrovskiy’s cinematography makes this an arresting visual experience.
This is an altogether ambitious, creative and utterly bonkers movie. The fact that so many big names (including a voice many Brits will recognise at the opening) leant their considerable talents to such an outlandish vision shows the (very justified) faith they have in Vlahos’ execution. Indeed, in lesser hands, a film like this could have been too self-aware. Indulgent rather than imaginative. Instead we get a mind-melting, visually intelligent and thoroughly enjoyable thrill ride.
Studio: Eros Vlahos | Year: 2018 | Genre: Comedy/Horror | Duration: 7 Mins | Suitability: Mature
| Writers: Eros Vlahos
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