Friday, February 26, 2010

Review: Triangle (2009)

Director: Christopher Smith
Starring: Emma Lung

They say what happens in the Bermuda Triangle is some seriously weird shit, and if my intuition is correct, the weirdest of all is just the absolute incompetence with which amateurish directors make horror movies about it. Let's dig into this latest festering pile of plot convolutions called Triangle...pack your swim gear, because this ship is sinking fast.

So we start off with a mother telling her child that it's okay, and that it was all a dream. Exactly what I wish I could say about this movie, what a coincidence...we then cut to a harbor, where a prissy guy in a sailor's outfit is taking his friends on a cruise in the middle of the day. His friends are uniformly and unrealistically attractive, as if they didn't even try to hide the fact that they were picked up off of Baywatch or something. Oh, and the ship is actually called Triangle, which is just a weird name for a ship in general. I mean...Triangle? Couldn't you have gone with something like Skipper? Or maybe just the name of your girlfriend?

The acting is pretty cardboard, and none of the characters are really given personalities. That's not usually a detriment to a horror movie, but man, I wish more would at least try at this. The only story we really get is that the woman from the beginning, whose name is Jess, has an autistic son, that the couple (Sally and Downey) are uppity white-collar suburban types who indulge in every stereotype from knowing nothing about the ocean to trying to set their friend Greg the sailor up with random and unwilling blind dates. This particular blind date, and by far the most compelling character in the movie, is named Heather. Remember the name, because she will be, by far, the most prominent character in the movie.

Our heroes sail off into the picturesque blue sea, until they reach, gasp, the Bermuda Triangle, where a gigantic storm almost immediately wipes them out. Somehow, all of them survive mostly unharmed and not even that wet, finding their ways to the surface as the storm easily passes over. The only one missing is Heather, who Sally cries over and everyone else pretty much forgets about. Will she come back? The suspense is building up...especially as they find a mysteriously abandoned ocean liner sailing toward them, somehow boarding with relative ease even from their small, battered boat.

Eventually, through a long, dark series of events and The Shining rip offs, our cast begins to get killed off. Jess, who has been experiencing Deja Vu as she walks through the halls of the ship, is blamed, and this starts off an even more complicated set of plot twists. Apparently, history is repeating itself in a loop, and Jess begins to see her kinda-sorta-friends killed off over and over again. Confronted by the masked killer, she is told that she needs to kill all of her friends off in order to stop the loop. Surprised?

Actually this is a pretty cool plot point. The whole middle section is actually pretty chilling, aside from the usual low budget restrictions. The suspense is good, there are some shocking scenes that I won't spoil for you, and there's actually some pretty brutal, insane psychological horror mixed in. I do have to nitpick a little, though; it's kind of lame how they just pad out the movie by recycling the dialogue tracks from earlier in the movie, rather than fleshing things out. Sure, it's supposed to be like time travel or some shit, but still.

The plot just gets weirder and weirder though, losing the viewer more and more. It gets too complicated, and eventually it just doesn't make any real sense. There are a lot of symbolic points, a lot of plot twists that tie together, but really my question is why? Jess ends up washed up on the shore, where she finds her own house and sees what an abusive, rude bitch of a mother she really was to her poor autistic son. Where did this plot point come from; out of the writers' asses? It kind of makes sense, given the hints earlier in the movie, but again, why? Couldn't you have just made a good psycho-suspenseful-thriller flick and left this out? It's kind of unpleasant, and doesn't really add much to the movie. And then we get a lot of stuff about death, cramming a whole movie's worth of plot twists and unbelievable bullcrap into ten minutes of confusion. So...what? There's a taxi driver meant to be Death, tying into the film's foreshadowing with Aeolus the Greek God of Wind, who cheated Death, and Jess cheated death by going on the cruise, and...

Oh, who cares? This movie is just confusing. It's too complex for its own good. The acting isn't good, the scary parts are botched up by the film's attempts at being 'deep,' and the movie just isn't satisfying at its end. There are some very cool parts here, and I like how depraved it gets at times, but that isn't enough - you have to actually tie your film together as a cohesive whole, guys! This movie just doesn't work.

But wait! What happened to Heather?! She was...never even mentioned again, at all! What was the point of even including her? My guess is, she probably walked off the set after realizing this movie wasn't going to get her a career. Smart choice, girlie. We'll remember your last words, "I'm not interested," forever. RIP.