Bad Dreams Make You Think You're Seeing Things: Triangle (2009)

The second stop on my voyage through horror films this October comes the way of a psychological thriller by director Christopher Smith.  The film, Triangle, is a psychological time travel narrative with just enough jumps and moments of suspense to deem it within the horror drama, but with enough moments of uniqueness to help it supplant the traditions of the horror film.  Triangle is an incredibly complex film and certainly does not treat its viewers as idiots, often requiring them to make connections and glean ideas from within the film narrative that do not necessarily pop out, while I have only viewed the film once for this blog, I could imagine it benefitting immensely from repeated viewings and listening to various commentaries and charts of what events occur throughout the film, perhaps similar to what many have done with the cult time travel film Primer.  However, what helps Triangle to stand apart from its contemporaries, and exist as a pretty decent genre film is the absolutely intense psychological turmoil of one character that perpetuates a majority of the movie.  Sure it lacks in the CGI department and a lot of the technological after effects are a bit forced, but this can be excused since the film is a bit of an indie horror work and as such is not afforded the cinematic tricks and treasures of bigger budget films, one must simply applaud the directors for their earnest efforts in making such a piece of horror cinema, one that is nearly perfect, save for ending a few scenes too late.

Triangle focuses on a day in the life of Jess (Melissa George) a somewhat spastic woman who is stuck dealing with the burden of having an autistic son and seeks refuge in a day trip on water with some friends.  The group includes the captain of the vessel, aptly named Triangle, Greg (Michael Dorman) who clearly has feelings towards Jess, as well as Greg's mutual friends Downey (Henry Nixon) and Sally (Rachel Carpani) a attached at the hip married couple and their single friend Heather (Emma Lung) who they hope to hook up with Greg.  Finally the group is rounded off by a young man named Victor (Liam Hemsworth) who is taken on as an aid for Greg after he finds sleeping behind a convenience store.  This group attempts to enjoy a day on the water only to become stalled at sea after the wind lets down, an anomaly that is quickly followed by a fierce storm that destroys the ship and leaves the group stranded on the capsized boat, minus Heather.  Believing themselves lost the group spots an abandoned ocean liner in the horizon, on which they quickly board.  Without giving too many of the details away, as the reveals in this film are excellent, it becomes clear that the group is unwelcome on the ship and begin to be attacked by a force, one that is both unexpected by the attacked as well as the attacker, culminating in a suggestion that the nightmarish course of events is inevitably going to continue on without resolve.

Triangle is particularly keen on the notion that correcting one's actions does not in turn change the past. In the film's philosophy no amount of intervention can even begin to prove fruitful when things are preordained and one's knowingly bad actions will be reprimanded and guilt will not result in redemption.  We see this constantly throughout the move, as it is, spoiler alert, essentially a time travel movie.  One character finds themselves attempting to return to a moment prior to disaster within the day, an act that by default requires them to repeatedly engage in less than acceptable behavior, ranging from simple acts of lying to incredibly grave acts like murder.  The greater issue emerges when it becomes clear that even a perfect execution of events leads to a new series of problems and past injustices.  As it becomes clear in the latter part of the narrative, even if the group is to escape the evil of the ship, another group of nightmares, or realities, await them upon shore, ones that may or may not result in very cataclysmic events.  Finally the film further posits that often our incessant concern with controlling our destiny is futile in that what usually changes the course of events may indeed be simple and uncontrollable interference by nature.  Sorry to be terribly vague with the descriptions, but I do not care to spoil such an enjoyable film, particularly since it is of the horror persuasion.

Key Scene:  Let's just say there is a reveal involving Jess and Sally that is as grotesque as it is cinematically stunning.

Triangle was a pleasant surprise in that it was far more reflective than I had imagined.  The movie poster and DVD cover do it no justice, although they may indeed suggest more upon deeper examination.  Regardless, it is well worth renting and certainly worth buying if one enjoys horror films.

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