I reviewed “40 Seconds” a few months back and had one bit of advice: Lose the comedy. Director/writer Ramiro Hernandez has done just that, shortening the film by about five minutes, and actually making it better. In the original version of the film, the humor took away from the crux of the story, which is a watch that enables its wearer, Max (Derek Latta), to see forty seconds into the future. When Max hooks up with Katie (Jennifer Dawson), he realizes that the woman is about to find herself in a very bad situation, and he does his best to get out of the way. It’s a supernatural drama, and the comedy felt totally out of place in the first cut of the film.
Now that Hernandez has released this new version, it becomes apparent that the real strength of the film comes from the characters and not the plot device. That said, a full-length feature would serve the story idea well, as the viewers would have time to get to know and care about these people. The characters do earn some empathy , but the events would have a bigger impact if we had more time with them.
All in all, this is a solid, original idea that warrants more examination, and I’m happy to see that Hernandez took out all the bits that dragged down the film. Now he needs about another hour and fifteen minutes to build the tension, and he’ll have a solid winner.