Friday, October 12, 2012
30 Days of Nightmares #16: TRIANGLE (2009)
The Story: Single mom goes on a boat trip with her new beau and his friends. They sail into the Bermuda Triangle... To give away anything more would be cruel.
Expectations: This is writer/director Christopher Smith's third horror outing, following CREEP (2004) and SEVERENCE (2007). Actress Melissa George also has some strong horror credibility, having starred in the remake of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005) and 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007). The film was distributed by Mel Gibson's Icon Productions, which suggested (at least to my mind) that it was going to be pretty dark.
Reaction: This film belongs to the mind-bending horror subgenre that originated with The Twilight Zone -- I'm thinking of films like JACOB'S LADDER (1992), THE GAME (1997), THE SIXTH SENSE (1999), DONNIE DARKO (2001), IDENTITY (2003), THE MACHINIST (2004) and SHUTTER ISLAND (2010). If you generally like this type of film (and I do), you'll probably love TRIANGLE.
Mind-bending horror requires extremely intricate plotting. In the beginning, the storyteller must constantly throw out a lot of information that is intriguing but not too distracting... There's a very fine line between keeping a viewer in suspense and frustrating them with a lack of information. I hate it when a movie doesn't make any kind of sense until the final scene. That's too late. The filmmaker has already lost me. What works is when a mind-bending narrative unravels, piece by piece, as it moves along, alternately confirming and thwarting my expectations. That's exactly what TRIANGLE does. To say more would, again, be cruel to those who haven't seen the film.
I'll only give one more hint about the story: A few days ago, in my review of WIND CHILL, I noted that the writer tipped his hat (to philosophy majors) by inserting a not-so-casual reference to Nietzsche's theory of eternal recurrence. Christopher Smith does the same thing here, tipping his hat to English Lit majors with a not-so-casual reference to the myth of Sisyphus. Oddly enough, no one says anything about the history of the Bermuda Triangle... but maybe that's for the best. This film is not focused on a phenomenon; it's focused on a specific character. That's why it works.
Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: One of the minor characters stumbles onto horrifying evidence of her immanent demise. The scene that doesn't quite make logical sense -- sometimes if you pull the wrong string in these mind-bending movies, the whole sweater comes apart -- but I don't mind because it's one of the most haunting images I've seen in a long time.
Labels: 30 Days of Nightmares