The Trap Door at the Edge of the Universe opens as a standard noir thriller as the hard-boiled Private Detective (Shawn Hamilton) fades up in black and white. He takes a case looking for a priceless heirloom violin for a mysterious, beautiful Femme Fatale (Laura Wiggins). His detective work uncovers far more than the secret of her missing violin as he stumbles into a vast multi-dimensional conspiracy in which cats, who always appear to be up to something, are, in fact, up to something.
The conceit of the film is that all stories are meta-stories in which the world built in the tale is alive and contains sentient, self-aware beings in the characters. The result in this movie is that sloppy writing leads to chaos for the characters in the script.
“…a vast multi-dimensional conspiracy in which cats, who always appear to be up to something, are, in fact, up to something.”
When The Detective follows a cat into a dimensional portal in a laundromat dryer, he finds the writer of the script he’s in and realizes that the writer has given him no name outside of “The Detective.” When The Detective complains about this, The Writer (Aaron Perilo) explains that it’s a perfectly reasonable name, just like his own, “The Writer.” The Detective suggests that this means they are still in a deeper layer of realities since someone hasn’t bothered to give the Writer a name. Of course, the meta continues to expand into other realms when you learn that Aaron Perilo co-wrote the script under review by me, “The Reviewer.”
The layers of universes in The Trap Door at the Edge of the Universe start to take on an Inception-esque complexity, and confusion reigns. It gets worse once the Writer and the Detective name themselves and realize they can make any changes they like in the world of the script the Detective came from. Then it becomes clear that every distortion of any reality comes with a price. The Detective names himself “Sly,” and The Writer becomes “Max.” The film switches wildly from color to black and white, with distortion overlaying everything as the universes impinge on each other in weird overlaps.
"…a madcap tour of multiple realities."