Taglines: To fix the past, would you risk your future?
In 2014, 17-year-old high school senior and aspiring inventor David Raskin (Jonny Weston) is admitted into MIT, but is unable to afford its tuition fees. Upon learning his mother, Kathy Raskin (Amy Landecker), is planning to sell the house, David enlists his sister Christina (Virginia Gardner) and his friends Adam Le (Allen Evangelista) and Quinn Goldberg (Sam Lerner) to go through the belongings of his father, Ben Raskin (Gary Weeks), an inventor who died in a car crash on David’s 7th birthday, in the hope of finding something that David can use to get a scholarship.
David ends up finding an old camera with a video recording of his birthday, in which he briefly spots his 17-year-old self in a reflection. The four later find the blueprints of a temporal relocation device that Ben was developing for the United States military named “Project Almanac,” and use the available resources to build a functional time machine, including hydrogen canisters stolen from their school. David, Christina, Adam, and Quinn later use the battery from the car of David’s longtime crush, Jessie Pierce (Sofia Black D’Elia), who is attending a party in the neighborhood, to charge up the machine, and successfully send a toy car back in time, blowing out the power for the entire neighborhood. They end up being caught by Jessie and recruit her to their experiment.
David, Jessie, Christina, Adam, and Quinn eventually travel back in time to the day before and break into Quinn’s house, where they draw a smiley face on the back of the neck of a sleeping past Quinn (which simultaneously appears on the back of the visiting Quinn’s neck). However, he awakens and seeing his future self causes a feedback loop that nearly erases them both from the timeline. The five agree to use the machine for personal gain on the condition that they always use it together.
Adam uses it to win the lottery, Christina gets back at her bullies, Quinn aces a chemistry test to secure his academic future, and the group eventually decides to travel back to Lollapalooza three months before. David hesitates to declare his feelings for Jessie and their relationship becomes awkward. David is disappointed by this and decides to travel back in time alone to change that, leading to a future in which they are a couple.
When he returns, he finds that the blackout caused by them sending the toy car back resulted in their school’s star basketball player getting hit by a car and breaking his leg; the team doesn’t make it to the championships, and those that would have attended go elsewhere, including a pilot who ends up crashing a commercial airliner along with multiple other catastrophes around the world. David goes back alone once again and prevents the accident that would lead to the player’s injury, and averts the plane crash. He returns to the future to learn that instead Adam is in critical condition in the hospital after being run over.
Project Almanac (formerly titled Cinema One, Almanac, and Welcome to Yesterday) is an American found footage science fiction thriller film directed by Dean Israelite and written by Jason Harry Pagan and Andrew Deutschman. Filmed in 2013 and originally planned for an early 2014 release, the release date was later moved to January 30, 2015.
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Jonny Weston, Sofia Black D’Elia, Amy Landecker, Michelle DeFraites, Ginny Gardner, Sam Lerner, Katie Garfield
Screenplay by: Andrew Stark, Jason Pagan, Andrew Deutschman
Cinematography by: Matthew J. Lloyd
Film Editing by: Martin Bernfeld, Julian Clarke
Costume Design by: Mary Jane Fort
Set Decoration by: David Smith
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language and sexual content.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: January 30, 2015