The Art of Time Loop: How a Cliche Genre can be Done Right

We’ve all heard of at least one movie were a guy either is stuck in a time loop of the same day, or decides to mess with time. It’s usually either cause he has to get a certain day perfect, or he wants to meddle with time and then realize he has to fix the mess he’s created. The cliche has appeared at least once every two years, so it’s difficult to say that it isn’t a cliche.

But unlike many other cliches, this one can actually be done right. How is that so? Well, there are unique and creative ways that the main guy can be stuck in the time loop. He usually does it to try and get the girl he’s always wanted, but the re-do doesn’t always have to be about that.

The problem is, Hollywood has never tried to do the re-do as anything beyond romance, which adds to the cliche. You can go so many different routes when it comes to the time loop, even going so far as to main the main character do the re-do to affect someone else’s life, rather than just their own.

The main issue with the re-do cliche is that they almost always involve the guy trying to get the girl he thought he wanted, before coming to the realization that she wasn’t the one. It also always a certain day perfect, either their wedding day or some other big event that is heavily tied to their romantic life. It’s never anything else. Making it about something else would actually make the cliche so clean and refreshing. It’s so easy, and yet the Hollywood industry doesn’t want to take that step. Romance is an easy, audience-drawing theme to follow-why do anything else?

The re-do trope has gotten so similar to itself that it’s not even worth watching anymore. Unless they decide to finally branch out, you can just about guess the entire plot of the movie, with some variance give-or-take. It makes it so overtly bland that it’s almost intolerable.

There have been a few horror movies, however, that have taken the time loop in unique, twisted ways. Movies such as Happy Death Day and Before I Fall have been taking the time loop genre out of its original comedy genre, and planting it firmly into horror. It’s interesting to see, and definitely adds to the suspense of a plot. We’ll have to see where it takes us.

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