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3 out of 4 stars

Black Hollow Cage
Written by
Sadrac González-Perellón
Directed by
Sadrac González-Perellón
Julian Nicholson, Lowena McDonell

Handsome, profoundly austere and vaguely traumatizing, Black Hollow Cage has no fun at all with the time-travel trope. But, then, one man's kitchen knife to the neck is another man's hot tub or Michael J. Fox.

In writer-director's Sadrac González-Perellón's Euro sci-fi chiller, an angry preteen girl blames her guilt-ridden father for the death of her mother and the loss of her right arm. Alice (played by Lowena McDonell) treats her talking dog like her mom and reluctantly works at mastering her robotic hand by grasping at objects – she needs to get a grip.

Set in an ultramodern house that will have the Architectural Digest set drooling, the glacially deliberate action of Black Hollow Cage involves a mysterious cube that Alice comes across in the woods. From it, she receives messages from her future self on how to prevent a horrible occurrence.

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The demanding plot mystifies as it initially unfolds; the soundtrack is tense and ominous. A film about forgiveness and the wish to change the past might be one of those movies that gets better with a second viewing.

Black Hollow Cage opens Feb. 16 in Toronto.

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