A man, Andre, drives through the French hills honking the horn. Kassia Paine is in the passenger seat and as they kiss, the car goes out of control. Later at a lake, Andre goes into a nearby lake to swim while Kassia sits in the car making drinks. Andre wades in and turns to call to Kassia and another woman, Leonora. Andre wades partway in and calls to Kassia and another woman, Leonora Edmond, for his drink. Leonora plucks a leaf from a Thanatos tree and gives the leaf to Kassia, who shakes the leaf Leonora gives her into Andre's martini. Kassia gives the leaf back to Leonora, who stomps it out in the dirt.
Kassia takes the martini to Andre, who calls for Leonora to come over as well. Kassia echoes Leonora's order, and Leonora comes over. Andre has both of them come out into the water and serve him his drink. They obey and Andre backs away from them, forcing them to walk a bit further out. He tells them that once they're done, they'll go to London and extort money from Leonora's rich uncle. The women pour Andre his drink and Leonora offers it to him. Andre drinks it down, clutches at his stomach, and Kassia pours the shaker into the water and rinses it out. The man collapses, moaning, and finally sinks beneath the water.
The two women go back to shore and Kassia hands Leonora the shaker and the drinking glass. Kassia then goes out and pulls Andre's corpse to shore, and tells Leonora to clean out the trunk and leave the lid open. A storm comes up and the women drive to a nearby cemetery. Three local French villagers bring a coffin past, and one of the women throws a flower at the windshield.
That night, Kassia drives through the storm. Leonora imagines that she sees the trunk lid open in the rearview window, but Kassia insists that the leaf must have killed him. She stops the car and confirms that Andre is still dead, and calls over Leonora to see for herself. Leonora imagines that Andre blinked due to the lightning and runs off into the nearby forest. She trips on a log and falls, sobbing. Kassia finds her and says that they have to go, and Leonora tells her to go with Andre and ask Leonora's father to forgive her. The other woman says that her father will be safe now that Leonora is dead, and Andre couldn't have blinked. Leonora insists that Andre's position shifted in the trunk, and Kassia says that she moved Andre to make sure that he wasn't alive. When Leonora looks toward the car, she apparently sees Andre. Kassia looks over and sees nothing, and by the time she glances back, Leonora is gone.
Kassia runs further into the forest looking for Leonora, who is running in a panic. She gets back to the car and the trunk opens, revealing that Andre's body is gone. Leonora runs into the forest and sees a large house up ahead. Kassia arrives and finds Leonora banging on the door, begging the owner to let her in. Running over, Kassia wonders if Leonora wants to tell the world what they've done. The blind servant, Colas, opens the door and Kassia says that their car broke down and asks if they can use the phone. Colas tells her that they have no telephone but invites them to warm themselves at the fire.
As Kassia and Leonora come in, they see Light bulbs strung up at the top of the stairs and hear the ticking of dozens of clocks. Colas leads them into a parlor where a small ornament is twirling on a table. Leonora goes to the fire and sees a nonworking clock above the mantelpiece. Colas compliments Leonora on her beauty and puts more wood on the fire. Leonora wonders where the ticking is coming from, and Colas says that it's from a special room upstairs. He explains that his master, Tone Hobart, tinkers with time just as Time tinkered with him. A man opens the parlor door and closes it. Kassia goes over and opens it, revealing a young man standing outside. Leonora mistakes him for Andre and faints.
Later, Kassia tends to Leonora. When Leonora wakes up, Kassia says that Leonora mistook the young man--Tone Hobart--for someone else but he's dead. Tone comes over, quotes Shakespeare, and asks why they're in his house. Colas says that he let them in, and Tone wonders if they will stay the night. Kassia agrees and says that they'll sleep on the sofas, and Tone introduces himself. He says that he was in the woods and is the one that shocked Leonora. Kassia excuses him, and Tone says that he has a great deal of work to do upstairs. He leaves and Colas follows him. Tone goes to his room and closes the door behind him.
Leonora says that she feels as if the house has been waiting for her and she's afraid that she'll succumb to it.
The door opens, revealing Tone tinkering with dozens of clocks. They're strung together in an intricate web, and in the center of it is Andre's body. Tone goes over and closes the door.
Kassia tells Leonora that she took Andre's body because someone would have found it and Andre would have ruined things. She tells Leonora that she's going to bury Andre's body, and figures that Leonora imagined that Andre was no longer in the trunk. As Kassia gets the fireplace tools, Leonora asks if her father will be safe now, and says that she can't help Kassia bury Andre. Kassia leaves and Leonora stares at the spinning ornament.
As Kassia goes out, Tone approaches her. Startled, she drops one of the tools. He gives it to her, smiling, and says that she's not the one to ask questions of. He goes into the parlor and Leonora remembers that Andre was going to blackmail her father using letters that he sent someone. Kassia told her to pick a leaf off of the Thanatos tree and they put it into her drink. Tone interrupts, saying that he didn't think Andre had drowned and then apologizes for interrupting her reverie. Leonora asks why he keeps a useless clock, and Tone asks her if she would be unhappy if Andre came back to life. When Barbara says that the past is gone, Tone explains that if one could "tilt" time so the present would intermingle with the past or vice versa... and things in the past would come back as they were before they died. Tone assures Barbara that it can be done and has been done, and he came back to life. If he can make it happen again and again, he can bring back the lost ones. Tone offers to show Leonard his room, and asks if she wants Andre to be alive again. He says that she's no killer because she feels guilt. Leonora tries to run and Tone blocks the door.
Kassia goes to the car.
Tone takes Leonora to his room and she screams and runs. Andre looks at the empty space in the middle of his mechanism, and smiles.
Kassia hears Leonora call to her as she opens the trunk, revealing Andre's body.
After Leonora faints, Tone carries her back to the parlor as Colas looks on. He wonders if Andre could have left, and imagines Kassia's surprise when she found the empty trunk. Neither of them heard Kassia return to get the body, and Tone figures that Andre tilted back just like he did. He goes to find Andre and explain why he's alive.
Tone goes out past Kassia as she returns to the house, and Kassia goes to Leonora. Leonora is still in a state of shock, and Kassia asks Colas why Leonora screamed. Colas advises her to leave the house, and he's the master, not the servant. He explains that Tone has been his guest for almost a year, after he stumbled upon the house. Tone was invited just as the women are, and a blind man's house is a good hiding place. Colas says that Andre is the one who is a danger to them, not Tone, and Leonora says that she told Tone about murdering Andre when Tone questioned her in her dream. Colas lights a cigarette for Kassia and smiles in satisfaction.
Kassia figures that Tone can hypnotize people but he isn't a policeman. Leonora explains about Tone's time tilter, insisting that he brought Andre back before the killed him. She doesn't believe that Andre is in the trunk, saying that she can hear Andre walking around them. Leonora opens the drapes and reveals Tone looking in.
After Tone walks away, Colas says that Tone arrived screaming with no food or water. As he serves drinks, Colas explains that he unfastened Tone from his time tilting device and carried him to bed. Tone's device slid out of the dead past into the present. Leonora notices that the rain has stopped, and Colas says that they can go... quickly. Leonora starts to go, but Kassia tells her to stay until morning when she's done burying. The women walk out into the hallway and Kassia tells Leonora to wait in the car while she buries Andre. They open the front door and find the car there. Andre climbs out of the trunk and laughs, still holding his martini glass.
Leonora runs upstairs, screaming, and Andre watches her go, chuckling. He then advances on Kassia, who backs into the parlor. Upstairs, Leonora runs into a room and hears Andre calling to her.
Colas goes out into the forest to find Tone. Tone is lying on the ground and takes Colas' hands. Colas says that Andre claimed that he ran Tone over, and Tone says that he fell away as Andre sped away. Tone explained how he brought Andre back to life, but Andre didn't care. He says that he was wrong to bring Andre back, gets up, and goes to undo what his blindness has done and kill Andre.
Kassia kisses Andre, who knows that the leaf came from a Thanatos tree. He asks why she wanted to kill him when they had a beautiful love affair, and Kassia says that she loved him until she had to choose between killing Andre or hurting her new friends. Andre tells her that he planned to hurt Leonora's father in the pocketbook, and he self-destructed when he wrote the letters to Kassia. Kassia wonders why Andre didn't stay dead, and Andre clutches at his stomach and says that they must hurry. He then laughs and stands up, unharmed, and says that they should head to London to get the blackmail money. Kassia tells him that he doesn't need it, and Andre says that he wants to be quiet rich rather than noisy rich like he is. Kassia says that he has to be born to that kind of wealth, and Andre tells her that they have to go. He goes to the door and calls to Leonora. Kassia suggests that she's dead, and Andre says that Tone will have to resurrect her.
Tone and Colas come in and Andre waves Colas in. The younger man goes to a table, tells Colas to look the doors and wait outside, and then takes out a gun and loads it. Tone advances on Andre, saying that he was wrong to bring him back. Andre asks if Tone intends to write his wrong, and Tone goes to the ornament and stares at it while keeping the gun on Andre. He says that he's going to send Andre back into the past. Andre laughs and Tone becomes fascinated by the ornament. The "dead" man takes the gun from Tone and fires it into the chair, and then tosses it to Kassia.
As Colas comes in, Andre tells Kassia that they can't wait for Leonora and drags Kassia away. Tone asks Colas to close the parlor door, and says that Colas should have seen that his device would become an object of evil. Colas points out that he's blind, and Tone talks about how he built the time tilter as an antidote to the love left in the world when loved ones die. Tone tells Colas that only God can tinker with time, says goodbye to Colas, and tells him that he's going back into the dead harmless quiet of the past. Colas shakes his hand , and Tone says that he thanks God that kindness is blind.
As Andre drives away, he shoves Kassia out of the car door and then backs up and revs the engine. He drives at her and she jumps aside, and the car goes off the road. Kassia opens the car door and Andre's corpse falls out.
As Tone goes to his room, he sees Leonora in a nearby room, lying unconscious on the floor with a briefcase open. Leonora wakes up and Tone asks her if she read the letter in the case. He says that he wrote it to his father when he was young, and in it he explained that he wants to bring their mother back so he left school to work on his time tilter.
Kassia goes back to the house and knocks on the door, calling to Leonora and insisting that Andre is dead. Colas opens the door for her.
Tone asks Leonora to destroy the time tilter once he goes back into the past. He insists that someone has to destroy the wires and the clocks. Leonora runs out of the room, and Kassia tells her that Andre is dead. Screaming, Leonora runs into the time room and locks the door. Tone tries to open the door, begging her to wait until he has returned to the past. He forces the door open and pulls Leonora out of the wires, and then activates the device. As Colas arrives and they look on, Tone disappears into the past.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 15, 2019