It’s been a fantastic last five minutes of your life. When you go home, your wife is in a great mood. She invites you to dance in the living room with her. It’s ridiculous, but you do it. She’s also made your favorite dessert for you. She gives you a gift as you sit down to eat. You’re met with baby clothes when you open them. You’re going to have a child. Then someone knocks on the door.
It’s going to be misery for the next five minutes of your life. A man pretending to be a cop stands on the other side of the door. He claims to have a warrant. You opened the door for him. He accuses your wife of eight years ago murdering her father. He’s hell-bent on discovering a pocket watch that belonged to your wife’s father for whatever reason. The cop apprehends both of you and chokes you until you pass out, tying your hands behind your back. When you wake up, you’re five minutes ago, standing in the doorway of your apartment, as if nothing had occurred. What are your plans for the future?
Your wife comes from the restroom. You’ve been served dessert by her. She’s got a gift for you. You’re the one who tells her about the cop. You inquire as to why she murdered her father. She is both offended and perplexed. What exactly are you referring to? The cop returns five minutes later.
So begins the trailer for Luis Antonio’s film 12 Minutes, starring James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe.
Antonio says, “12 Minutes never tells you what to do.” “As things get more complicated, it’ll be a little bit of your perception of how things are going.”
12 Minutes is set in a single location: your apartment. Loops lasted about five to seven minutes throughout our time with the game; five minutes before the cop arrives, and a few minutes after as everything falls apart. Each run adds to your understanding of the situation, and none of them seemed like wasted time.
“The little space allows for extremely quick iteration since you only have a small [window] if you make a mistake or want to try something,” Antonio explains. “You have a pretty rapid response to your experiment; you aren’t going to try 50 things and then failing at activity 49. You take two steps and know what you’re doing in a matter of seconds.”
Our time spent playing 12 Minutes is brief, yet it is immediately engaging. We’ve been thinking about what we’d like to do differently when we play the game again since finishing the demo. If the rest of 12 Minutes lives up to the suspense of its first hour, it could be a new take on the time-loop genre. Only time will tell.