Writer / director Christopher Smith has done horror with Creep, comedy horror with Severance, and now he turns his ever developing talents to the thriller genre with intelligent psychological thriller Triangle. The new movie by the Englishman is easily his best yet, and brings on board the brilliant acting talents of Melissa George (30 Days of Night) as the protagonist. Triangle is a great 100 minute piece that passes in half that time, keeping the viewer interested by constantly toying with expectations and clichés while never running into them.
Warning! Here be spoilers...
As Jess (George) boards a yacht with some friends something doesn't seem right. She is clearly upset and distracted about something, but when asked she brushes off the question saying she's just tired. Once on the open sea a violent storm appears out of nowhere, capsizing the yach and leaving the group stranded sitting on the upturned boat. Luckily a large ocean liner appears and they manage to climb aboard.
Their relief is short-lived however, as their would be rescue vessel turns out to be deserted despite a full buffet laid out in the dining hall. At least they think it is deserted, but as they start getting killed off one by one their suspicions turn first to an unknown assailant and then to Jess who is implicated in a number of the killings. As the film progresses Jess starts to break down, and then just after the last person (apart from Jess) dies, she spots a capsized boat on the sea with her friends on it ready to climb aboard the ocean liner. And standing among them she sees herself.
A film that starts with a premise we have all seen before (group stranded, find themselves on a deserted boat then start dying) turns into something much more substantial, as the tormented mother Jess is desperate to return home to her autistic son, and more and more questions are raised about her own grip on reality. On top of this there is lots of beautiful foreshadowing and cross-referencing throughout the movie, a lot of which you may miss on the first watch through (I know I did!). The complex story draws the viewer in as we are constantly trying to guess what will happen next, only to find out that things don't happen quite as we had imagined they would. All the while the movie feels intensely creepy and strange, verging on surreal.
I've given away far more than I usually would in a review, especially for a thriller like this. However the trailer and other descriptions of the movie make it sound so cliché and "we've seen this all before" that I felt you needed to see the hook to get you to watch it! Trust me, it's worth it. Triangle is one of the best films I have seen lately, another in a selection of recent films showing that you don't need the latest digital effects, massive explosions, or A-list cast to make a good movie - all you need is good actors, a good director, and a good script. And Triangle has that in abundance. I spent most of the film with one line repeating in my head as the film twisted and turned: "This movie is FUCKING WITH ME!"