Premonition Mennan Yapo

Have you ever held a baseball bat perpendicular to the earth and leaned your forehead down with great deliberation to the knob of said bat? Then proceeded to circle the bat clockwise, never lifting your head, walking tight circle after circle, quickening your pace with each revolution until the world is an intoxicating blur, as if a brilliant kaleidoscope had exploded in a gravity-free world?

Now, take that sensation and dull all the glorious kaleidoscope bits to a forgettable beige and reintroduce gravity and you have an idea of how director Mennan Yapo’s most recent feature leaves you feeling because Premonition is a dizzying exercise in feigned suspense and anticlimax.

The film begins with shocked housewife Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) learning that her husband (Nip/Tuck’s Julian McMahon) has died in a fiery crash only to have him reappear the next morning very much alive. Struggling to determine whether her experience was a horrific premonition or a psychotic delusion, Linda scrambles to make sense of what is turning out to be a very, very bad week.

The premise is the stuff of solid, white-knuckled, temple-scratching thrillers: gasoline tanker car crashes, dead-then-undead husbands and lithium crunching housewives. It practically sells itself. Unfortunately, where the story calls for a good ol’ fashioned boiled bunny, the script delivers bloody road-kill — kind of gross but hardly frightening.

The weak script is compounded by Yapo’s movie-of-the-week direction, giving his eager to please cast little to work with. Bullock — no accidental A-lister — has long been a quippy and charismatic crowd pleaser in capital "H” Hollywood. However, shelve the clown shoes and she’s unable to muster the necessary gravity to pull off Linda’s desperate disorientation and sincere panic. The rest of the cast, however, is more than up for the challenge; they spend the entire film trying to beef up their thinly drawn supporting characters. The usually acerbic and engaging McMahon is wasted, given little else to do but scrub his armpits in the shower and flip pancakes. Esteemed Canadian stage and film actor Kate Nelligan (Prince of Tides), as Linda’s mom, is condemned to furrowing her eyebrows while piecing together jigsaw puzzles with her grandkids. It’s an unfortunate metaphor for the complexity of the plot twists — these are the large-cut, easy puzzles for ages four to eight. Premonition is one generic puzzle best left in the box. Save yourself the money. Blow the dust of your baseball bat and take it for a spin instead. (Sony)