Review: Project Almanac

“What would you do if you could turn back time?”

David Raskin (Johnny Weston), a high school science geek and engineering genius, finds himself in exactly that situation after discovering mysterious blueprints titled “Project Almanac” in his father’s basement workshop. As luck would have it, those blueprints contain instructions to build a “temporal relocation prototype”, or in layman terms, a time machine.

Greed got the best of Raskin, as he roped in his friends Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista), to reconstruct the device.

It’s a race against time as the gang collects the necessary parts and gadgets, while bickering and forging friendships just like typical teenagers.


Inevitably, the time machine provides each character a second chance to redeem themselves over past regrets. Christina, Raskin’s younger sister, stands up to her bully, while Quinn retakes a life-defining exam. Raskin himself travels back in time to redo a botched romantic moment with his crush.

The film takes a darker turn when the teens realize that going back in time doesn’t fix the problems but instead creates more complications in the future, convoluting the timeline into an unsolvable state.

Director Dean Israelite combines the standard montage of jumpy erratic flashbacks with a violent overall portrayal of the act of time travel itself, resulting in the characters often flung far from the point of teleportation, or landing spread-eagled on the ground.


History repeats itself, as the shots are oddly similar to scenes in The Butterfly Effect, with each jump back in time resulting in a new problem occurring in the present.

The problems get more severe, from single accident to flaming planes crashing to the ground, killing hundreds.

The use of the ‘found-footage format’ is also profound in Almanac where most horror films often shoot from a first-person point-of-view to induce jump scares. The camera follows the characters through the shelves of a Home Depot, or a forest. By placing the audience’s eye in the thick of the action, Israelite makes us feel like we’re part of the time-travelling group but judging from the horrors of time travel, we rather not.

In addition, the acting of the cast adds much credibility and depth to each character. Although the film is paced quickly, the audience does get time to observe each of the main characters.


The growth of main character Raskin is evident thanks to actor Johnny Weston’s good acting. As things spiral deeper into chaos, Weston strikes the perfect portrayal of confusion and panic and the audience is carried along with Raskin’s failing efforts to save the world.

The theme of humans playing God is also explored. Similar to the Final Destination franchise, the recurring idea that fate is set a certain way is boldly highlighted in the story. No matter what Raskin tries to do, he eventually always returns to the present to find the situation worse.

Almanac is not a must see, but an entertaining movie which combines 2 ideas in a way that has not been done before.

Rating: 3/5

Pictures courtesy of


Release Date: Jan 30

Rating: PG-13 (for some language and sexual content)

Genre: Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy

Directed By: Dean Israelite

Cast: Johnny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Virginia Gardner

Runtime: 2 hr