Thursday, May 6, 2010

Triangle (2009)

Wow, that poster is one giant fucking ball of spoilage.  I expected the picture to be about a group of young sailors stuck in the Bermuda triangle getting eaten by sea monsters or some shit (this was before I saw the poster).  At the very least, maybe some syfy channel level of storytelling and special effects thrown in.  Then I recognized the name Christopher Smith.  He did the disappointing (although not completely devoid of merit) Severance and also the fairly chilling horrors lurking in the London subway picture called Creep.  Neither picture blew me away but both have style and atmosphere.  Maybe this is the time Smith actually brings a story to match his visuals.  It doesn't hurt that the thing stars Melissa George (30 Days of Night).

Well, what we got here instead is a nice little twisty story marred by some atrocious computer generated imagery.  I guess water is pretty tough to render.  Anyway, this is the story of a single mother named Jesse (George) who goes sailing with some friends.  I know what you're thinking.  They end up in the Bermuda triangle.  Well, you'd be wrong.  Their boat is called the Triangle.  Also, they end up in some other triangle type anomaly somewhere off the coast of Florida.  One moment they're sailing along nicely.  The next moment the wind stops abruptly and their boat is overturned (tensest moment of the picture) by a massive storm that swoops in out of nowhere.  Also, weird distress call came over the radio just before they were flipped.  Also, Jesse has been weirdly antisocial the whole trip and now they're all clutching to the hull of their overturned ship excluding the one girl that was swept out to sea and presumably drowned.  And then a large cruise ship called "The Aeon Flux" or some shit, looking like something from the early 20th century pulls up next to them.  Saved!  Not so fast.

So, they board the ship and then shit starts getting even weirder.  They keep hearing someone else, while not seeing them.  It's a ghost ship.   It's old looking.  Their ship was called "The Triangle".  Jesse is acting strange.  Blood is all over the ship.  Some guy with a sack on his head starts picking them off one by one or two at a time.  Who the fuck is piloting the ship, if anyone?  Well, I can't really discuss the movie in any more detail without spoiling more shit, so here goes:

Turns out they went through some sort of time rift.  The person they spotted on the ship was actually Jesse (Jesse from the past).  The guy with the sack on his head killing them all with a shotgun or an axe is actually a gal.  A gal named Jesse (from the past).  Why is she killing everyone?  Well, turns out the only way to set things back and give them all a chance of escaping the ship is for them all to end up dead (even Jesse).  Once they're all dead I guess "The Triangle" will appear and the friends will board the boat.  If present Jesse can prevent that from happening or, escape the ship when the other boat appears then maybe she can make it back home to Florida to pick up her special needs kid from school or something.  Anyway, it's going to take a lot of trial and error for things to get straightened out.   If this sounds like the movie Timecrimes its because they have an almost identical plot except this one takes place on a boat.  We got the time travel angle and the guy (or gal) wearing a sack on their head angle.  See, basically the same picture.

I enjoyed it.  Melissa George gives a terrific performance as Jesse.  She's vulnerable, menacing, sympathetic, fierce, etc.  Lots of adjectives to describe her character so we can surmise she did a good job.  Lots of twists and turns in this thing.  The action becomes a bit repetitive at times but never really tedious.  Some truly shocking moments in this thing like when the one girl, after being knifed by Jesse in the gut, crawls up to some deck only to realize she's already crawled up there to die 50 times previously.  Or, when Jesse hits a seagul with her car and goes to drop it over a ravine only to discover hundreds of seaguls piled up below.  Real interesting shit like that.  Unfortunately, all the other performances are overwhelmed by George's.  We could really give a shit about anyone else.  They seem like fine people, but fuck 'em.

I spoiled a lot but there are still a couple moments of goodness left for you to discover.  Like the scene where Jesse is revealed to be an abusive parent.  Is that  Jesse Prime or one of her copies slapping the shit out of her retarded kid for spilling paint?  Who the fuck knows?  Also, sorry for spoiling that Jesse makes it home so she can beat on her kid.  I promise that's the last spoiler.  I dug this picture.  It kept me guessing.  I rank it slightly behind Creep and way ahead of Severance (maybe I should see that one again to be sure).  I guess Smith is at his best when he sticks to the dark and dour stuff, while leaving comedy-horror concoctions to the experts.*

*There are no experts.   A good horror/comedy almost always happens by accident.  Most good movies with elements of both are either comedy heavy or horror heavy.  An American Werewolf In London is the only example I can come up with that's a perfect blend.  Can you think of any?


Opinioness of the World said...

Great review!! This sounds good. And I really like Melissa George...she was fantastic as the double-crossing agent on 'Alias' and totally underutilized as the risk-taking doc on 'Grey's Anatomy.' I'll have to check this out.

Oh and the only movie I can think of that possesses a balanced blend of horror and comedy is 'Army of Darkness.' Bruce Campbell...sigh...

brian said...

I'm not sure 'Army of Darkness' has a balanced blend. I think it's a fun movie but I feel like any horror elements are overwhelmed by the attempts at comedy. I kinda feel the same way about 'Evil Dead 2'. And then the first one feels mostly horror to me.

Opinioness of the World said...

That's a good point. What about the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' series? They were chock full of horror and Freddy always had those pithy one liners. You're right always seems as if a horror movie tilts one way or the other.