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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Triangle (2009)- (movie review)

Trapped in a suspended world of false configuration to reality, how can a person inflicted with eternal oblivion, pain, guilt, and revenge manage to escape in a time loop cycle of a convoluted series of events depicting the awful and stressed memory from the past?

Director Christopher Smith’s decision to give the viewers a unique and refreshing contemporary scare is effective, and this is evident in his film Triangle. Those familiar with his works will notice the transformation that occurs from his previous films such as Severance and Creep, where the standard horror scenes depicting the usual cat and mouse chase between killer and victim have evolved into the more mature and innovative storyline found in Triangle. It somehow reminds me of the intricate plot of the film, Memento, in which the climax was shown at the beginning of the movie. The rest of the film played like the completion of a puzzle.

The film "Triangle," inspired by the classic horror "The Shining," executes a complete and balanced approach of terror and psychological contemplation. It follows the same tonal effect from the classic by illustrating the labyrinthine atmosphere found in the scenes of meandering corridors of the ghastly cruise ship and the image of a psychotic protagonist.

In order to immediately capture the sequence of the story and to be able to understand this film as a subject of the metaphysical aspects let me guide you by giving an outline of the story.

It was a relaxing Saturday morning on the coast of Miami, when a group of Americans organized a yachting adventure while heading towards the Atlantic Ocean. Jess (Melissa George) was invited by Greg (Michael Dorman) to join them sailing, together with the other passengers Sally (Rachael Carpani), Downey (Henry Nixon), Heather (Emma Lung), and Victor (Liam Hemsworth). Their peaceful yachting trip was diverted into a horrifying journey when their boat was struck by a mysterious storm that left them trapped at sea. A moment later, an old cruise ship appeared from the middle of nowhere, and they had no choice but to jump aboard in order to seek help, only to discover that greater havoc and terror ensued. While they were on the cruise ship, Jess was experiencing déjà vu where she felt a sense of familiarity as to the appearance of the ship. Also, she became suspicious on every aspect pertaining to her intuition that there was someone watching them and that it appeared to be a killer. As the story goes on, it slowly unfolds the mystery behind the identity of the killer who has a strong attachment to Jess.

In general, the entire story revolves around the interminable sorrow of Jess, a single mother with an autistic child (Joshua Mclvor). She has been experiencing an eternal recurrence of tragic events, the same cycle of unavoidable situations that always seem to end in the death of her son and friends.

The movie's title, “Triangle”, surely would suggest that this movie somehow has a connection to the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. However, this unusual situation may seem to be illogical, for it lacks supporting details that would explain how she got into this predicament, a situation that deals with the distinction between illusion and reality as well as life and death. Going on all that has been said thus far, we could relate this to a psychological aberration, depicting a person with a schizophrenic disorder, or it could also be interpreted as a separate world of hell where in she is trapped in an inescapable cycle of illusions. These hallucinations may be caused by the guilt of being an abusive mother to her child, and she can’t accept the reality that she was that kind of a mother. Perhaps she is already dead and must repent for having been an abusive mother to her child, forever driven by her guilt and remorse.

Another indication that would suggest the existence of Jess being in the underworld hell can also be found in the scene where she is picked up in a taxi after the car accident. The taxi driver who drops her at the port is a metaphoric representation for "ferryman," which, in Greek mythology, means the boatman who transports souls across the river of suspended emotions toward hell.

This film has a surreal approach which is relatively darker and heavier in context, as opposed to the previous works of Smith, trying to build up tension and terrify the viewers through multifaceted layering. The story progressed entirely in terms of a multi layered structure presented for the purpose of emphasizing the different point of view of the protagonist regarding her participation in the replicated version of the same sequence of events that has happened on multiple previous occasions producing juxtaposition or overlapping scenario.

This particular structure complicated the storyline and drowned the viewers in confusion. However, it managed to stay consistent and clearly illustrate the alteration of the various complex characterizations of the protagonist based on her different perspectives as a victim of her own illusion, played by her guilt wracked mind; as a hero who was determined to save her friends from the killer by giving them a warning and as a mother who was desperately do anything just to be able to be with her son again.  

With all the right ingredients of terror, psychological thrill, and eerie sensation, Smith was able to cook up a notable work that will surely satisfy the cravings of all avid horror fans, searching for a new menu of contemporary scare.