You know when you put in a movie and, about a third of the way in, you just know how it’s going to end? Yeah, well that happened to me while watching Triangle. As a matter of fact, it happened about three or four more times after that, too. Then it hit the halfway mark and, by that point, I was certain how it was going to end. Until a few minutes later, that is, when I just gave up even attempting to gauge where this film was going, because, quite frankly, I was feeling pretty damned stupid. To paraphrase Eric Cartman, Triangle warped my fragile little mind.
Christopher Smith, who gave us the sorely underrated subterranean cannibal flick, Creep, as well as the hysterically funny horror farce, Severance, has crafted one of the most deceptive and disorienting horror films in recent memory; one with more twists and turns than a visit to the chiropractor’s office, and bound to leave you feeling equally exhausted and abused.
Greg (Michael Dorman) has invited a few of his wealthy old school chums out on an afternoon sail on the Florida seas in his boat, Triangle. Downey (Henry Nixon) and Sally (Rachel Carpani) have brought along Heather, one of their single friends, in hopes of setting her up with Greg, but the charming sailor has his heart set on Jess (Mellissa George), a young waitress/single mother that Greg befriended at the local diner. When Jess arrives, Greg’s first mate, Victor (Liam Hensworth), says she seems distraught and a little confused, but Greg guesses that Jess is just feeling guilty for leaving her young autistic son, Tommy (Joshua McIvor), behind. After a few hours at sea, Jess seems more like herself. She and Greg seem to get on famously, but Sally is suspicious of the comparatively bourgeois Jess, and encourages Heather to break up their fun. Before Heather can make her move, however, a freak storm appears on the horizon, and, after a furious lashing of wind and waves, the boat is capsized. When the skies clear, Heather is gone, and the rest are forced to huddle together on the Triangle’s hull, and pray for rescue.
Their prayers are answered when a mammoth ocean liner appears in the distance, and, as the ship slowly steams up beside them, Jess and the others scramble on board. Strangely enough, no one is there to greet them, and, as they explore the vessel’s labyrinthine halls, it seems as though the entire ship is deserted. Soon, however, they discover they are not alone, and, as her fellow survivors fall victim to a menacing masked killer, Jess discovers that….
Well, you’ll just have to find that out for yourself. I’ve already said too much.
Actually, I didn’t really ruin anything, because at this point in the movie you’ll have already assumed you know what’s going to happen next, and you’ll be sort of right, but, at the same time, so very, very wrong! You see, the mind-fuck is only just getting under way, and from here on out, you’d be wise to just set your mind on autopilot and let Christopher Smith have his way with it. You may feel a little dirty at first, but I promise, you’ll still respect yourself in the morning.
Perhaps more mind-blowing than the film itself is the fact that a truly competent and extremely well-made film like Triangle couldn’t get a token art-house release in the U.S. while thrown-together detritus like Saw 6 and The Final Destination managed to pollute thousands of screens. Sadly, quality doesn’t seem to count for much these days, and, despite the fact that Triangle runs circles around most of the horror films that came out in 2009, the film sunk faster than its titular watercraft. It’s a shame, though, as this isn’t just a solid horror flick; it’s a damned good looking one, to boot, and probably would have made for a heck of a big screen experience. That being said, First Look’s Blu-ray presentation makes one heck of an impression on the “small screen”.
Presented in a sharp 2.39:1 1080p , Triangle boasts a gorgeous and vibrant transfer - one that is especially impressive during the film’s surprisingly epic storm sequence . The overall image is sharp and defined, with a nice sense of depth and dimension, and an exceptional level of detail in faces and textures. I did find that the sky in the outdoor sequences looked a little “hot” early on, but I’m pretty sure that’s a stylistic choice, and it works in contrast with the gloomy interiors of the ship.
The 5.1 Dolby True HD soundtrack is a very well-balanced affair, with crisp and clear dialogue, robust bass, and a meticulously separated surround mix. This relatively low-budget film ($12 Million U.S.) didn’t skimp when it came to sound design, as there’s a virtual arsenal of organic sounding effects scattered throughout the soundfield, making for a truly immersive aural experience.
Sadly, extras are a bit on the skimpy side, with only a short collection of standard definition interview snippets (cut together in a somewhat jarring fashion) and trailers for this and other First Look releases.
Triangle is a twisted, devious little mind-bender that constantly sweeps the rug out from under you. While its logic isn’t exactly sound (I found myself having a few “wait a minute” moments after I had a little time to digest the film), its execution is near-flawless, and the combination of a strong lead performance by Melissa George and Smith’s assured direction result in a nerve-jangling minor masterpiece that is sure to become a cult favorite. Highly recommended!