3:18 (2006) – By David Stephenson

 So here’s the 411. Films with words in their title are dead. Dead, man! Deader than the Dodo, or Johnny Wayne, or woollen underpants. Nah man, films with words are like… an aspiration to be like The Man wants you to be. Films with words in their title are like… so yesterday… so… 1997. Screw that. I say drop the rules. I say screw convention. Get with the times, man! What we’re talking about is the 318! Hell yeah! 318 baby! Woo hoo! It’s a thousand times better than 911, dude! A million times better than 666! This is the cutting edge, baybeee! Ride the wave of the fuckin’ future! Sweet!

You see, that’s what happens when you smoke too much weed. In that stage of blissful insight just before the paranoia kicks in, you get to the faster than lightning stage where everything is so significant! And everything is getting louder and louder and faster and faster and louder and faster and bam! Suddenly you’re on that higher plain of consciousness and all of mankind is united as one, under the same quasi-illegal psychotropic umbrella. Or at least that’s how it seems. You’re really just sat in a shot-to-shit truck listening to Prick (that’s a band, by the way) and waiting for the lights to change.

Or so is the case for the two characters of this film, a couple of twenty-somethings on the edge of a Christ-only-knows-what high. They stop at the lights, which for some reason don’t change. A set of creepy headlights behind them appear, then vanish, without arriving or leaving. The truck’s CD player display is stuck on 3:18 (thus the name.) Our two intrepid travellers, being off their tits as they are on cheap hash, decide that something’s up.

Our man, played rather amusingly by Jeff Staron comes to the logical conclusion that time has indeed stopped, that they’re on a bullet-ride out of Einstein’s theories of space and time. He stars rambling about “all those stories where time freezes, people in cars see a bright light and meanwhile they’re being probed by aliens.” You know he’s right. You can’t knock logic like that. He has a cool beard after all, so he must be telling the truth. That’s the kind of stoner logic that dominates this film, annoying over-effects and over-editing and all. He fires of words like lead from a gatling gun, throwing exclamation marks about like confetti at a wedding. The performance by Staron reminds me of an uncomfortable mix of Quentin Tarrantino in Dusk Till Dawn, and Edward Norton’s portrayal in Fight Club. The end product is interesting to say the least, memorable even, if not actually convincing.

Or leading lady, played by Marylee Gotch, takes the more subtle approach, watching as if from afar as her man panders on about the paranormal and the increased use of the human brain. She almost seems to want to be convinced by his razor-sharp theory that if mankind could use 12% of their brain, they’d be able to halt the space / time continuum. Her theory is much more logical, with plenty of that stereotypical female mushyness thrown in. She believes that time has paused because the two of them have ‘really connected’ to the point where they can even read each other’s minds.

And from there its vomit stains on carpet time.

This film is quite funny. This film is quite entertaining. This film is quite short. This film also has quite a good soundtrack as bands like Prick, The New Salem Witch Hunters, The Unknown and Disengage (who I’ve actually seen live and everything!) scramble for a piece of the action. There are, however, a few nagging problems. Firstly, Staron’s performance is so overwhelming that it pushes Gotch straight into the background and off the page. You’re so busy scrambling to take in Staron’s verbal rampage that you all but forget there’s another person in the truck. Bless.

Another thing bothers me. What’s the moral of this story? What’s the message? Smoking pot freezes time? Hitting the bong makes you talk shit? That all the male viewing audience should rush out and grow a cool beard like Jeff Staron’s?

Simultaneously a dark comedy and a bizarre sci-fi-esque love flick, this film is also simultaneously enjoyable and confusing. But hey, perhaps that’s the point? Either way, I recommend you check it out at:

http://www.sampsoncarnegie.com/clients/318/media/318%20Large%20Pro.mov

For the soundtrack alone it’s worth the trip. (Pardon the pun.)

Make sure to check out the film’s website too at http://www.autumnhazepictures.com/films/318.