KILL PILL
SFX|February 2021
TIME IS A LIE… REALITY BENDING THRILLER SYNCHRONIC IS HERE TO EXPAND YOUR MIND. OR MAYBE JUST BLOW IT…
NICK SETCHFIELD

QUANTUM THEORY IS A hell of a drug. In the case of Synchronic, the latest from directorial tag-team Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, it’s embodied in a little white pill with the power to unlock time itself.

Drop one and the true nature of the universe is visible – and you don’t even have to hug a stranger on a sweat-drenched dance floor. The ultimate in designer pharmaceuticals, it’s proof that Einstein – no slouch when it came to the secrets of reality – was bang on the money when he said “the difference between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Synchronic – the titular drug – shatters that illusion. But at what cost?

“Those ideas are so interesting,” says Benson, who also wrote the screenplay. “Telling science fiction stories essentially using the block state universe idea, that time isn’t really a flowing river, it’s more of a frozen river, where everything’s happening simultaneously… We’re obviously not the first ones to do it. But yeah, there was definitely a fascination with that. It was rooted in reading a lot of Alan Moore, undergrad physics classes, Wikipedia dives…”

“Stephen Hawking’s books are written for stupid people like myself!” laughs Moorhead, sharing the Zoom call with his creative partner. The pair met as interns for Ridley Scott’s commercial production company, bonding over a shared love of genre.

Named by Variety as among the 10 directors to watch in 2015, they’re known for inventive, category-defying fare, from 2014’s romantic body horror Spring to 2017’s time-looping tale The Endless.

Synchronic’s protagonists are Steve and Dennis, a pair of New Orleans paramedics played by Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan. They first encounter the drug’s devastating effects at an emergency scene and quickly realise this is no ordinary junkie fatality.

“The characters came pretty quickly after the concept,” Moorhead tells SFX, “because the way that designer drugs worked, somebody would have to be the first responders on the scene. The initial idea, of course, would be police officers, but it was almost immediately, instinctually, not going to be police officers, because it would empower our characters too much – they already know how to investigate things, they can yell at people, they can kick down doors, they can get the answers they need and the movie ends too soon. They’re just too powerful to be characters that can have setbacks.

“And on top of that, no matter how we handled it, the poster of the movie would have been two guys with guns. And we’re like, ‘It’s just never going to be that movie!’ So we thought, okay, paramedics are a version of that. They have to go to these scenes. They’re not obliged to figure out what’s happening, like a detective would be, but when one of their daughters disappears then of course they would be obliged to figure it out…”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM SFXView All
RELATED STORIES

MILLION-DOLLAR SLICE

CHRIS BARRETT HAS MADE BANK ON THE GRAY MARKET SELLING PIZZA LACED WITH 40 MG OF THC PER SLICE. CAN THE PIZZA PUSHA SURVIVE POT LEGALIZATION?

10+ mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

The BEST NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE

The national parks are our national treasure, and these 10 campsites are the best they have to offer. Hike in, pick up your jaw, and post up in paradise.

10+ mins read
Backpacker
January - February 2021

Standing Together

This program uses horsemanship to provide hope and healing for combat veterans and first responders.

3 mins read
Horse and Rider
Fall 2020

Gruden: ‘We are going to get what we deserve'

Many people openly questioned Jon Gruden’s return to coaching, and it seemed a legitimate thought considering what the Raiders did last year and their poor start this season.

6 mins read
Silver & Black Illustrated
December 2019

One Cool Cat

Edwin Pun, director of his family’s property development business Keyestone Group, is opening a US$620 million Hello Kitty theme park in Sanya, China in 2024

3 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
March 2021

One Cool Cat

Edwin Pun, director of his family’s property development business Keyestone Group, is opening a US$620 million Hello Kitty theme park in Sanya, China in 2024

3 mins read
Tatler Malaysia
March 2021

One Cool Cat

Edwin Pun, director of his family’s property development business Keyestone Group, is opening a US$620 million Hello Kitty theme park in Sanya, China in 2024

3 mins read
Tatler Singapore
March 2021

Finding Florida

The Pattison family were in for a shock when they left their quiet lockdown Caribbean island behind

3 mins read
Practical Boat Owner
October 2020

BLINDED BY THE BRIGHT LIGHTS

Paul Benson was working as an accountant in the City of London when he skived off work to accept the offer that changed his life.

5 mins read
The Non-League Football Paper
July 19, 2020

Interior Design

With the RS500 up and running, Paul turns his attention to finishing off the cabin…

3 mins read
Fast Ford
December 2019