Triangle (2009)

Twisting, turning and smart for the initial thirty minutes and final half hour, Triangle suffers with a horribly predictable middle that sags incredibly. Without it, the film wouldn’t work, and the pay off is worth the trudge, but only just.

Troubled mother Jess (Melissa George) joins Greg and his friends on a sailing trip supposed to relax and refresh her. Instead it ends with disaster as a freak electrical storm capsizes their craft. When a huge ocean liner named Aeolus sails into view, they think their prayers have been answered, but instead of salvation they find a crewless ship and a mystery assailant hell-bent on executing the trespassers. Jess quickly realises she’s trapped in a looping cycle of death and decides she will do anything to get back safely to her son. Anything. To say more would spoil it, but it’s not a simple “spooky killer on a boat” scenario. This isn’t Death Ship or Ghost Ship but an entirely more different vessel. Interesting, yes. Flawless, no.

Triangle is a more intriguing idea than quality script. Some will find it trite, especially when the saggy middle reveal appears, but Triangle is smartly plotted and enjoyable throughout. Logically, it is confused and brain-batteringly obvious is places, and it has a subtle intelligence that may be conceived as hidden arrogance rather than genuine ingenuity. References to a Greek myth patter away in the background, and although you know it means something, Triangle doesn’t ask you to care enough to ask what.

This is essentially a one-woman show too, with Melissa George taking up nearly every frame of screen time, and the success or failure of this venture lies entirely with her. Initially, she feels like a below-par Milla Jovovich minus a sense of humour, but her character and Jess’s development mean you cannot begrudge her an admirable if depressing performance. The supporting roles, however, are caricatures that fail to advance beyond their one-note descriptions – handsome deckhand, kind-hearted skipper, non-assuming friend, nonchalant husband and bitchy wife – their importance is minimum and their characters sadly reflect this.

The direction in Triangle is decent and smartly executed, helmed by the director of Creep and Severance. Despite an over-dependence on CGI this time round, Christopher Smith is a director to watch in the future. Some may consider this a step backwards when compared to ace comedy-horror Severance, but Smith has proved himself a competent director throughout all his films, he just requires a little more discipline in regards to his writing. Triangle needed to be sharper and more focused on the minor roles, where instead the audience were left cold towards them, making their deaths vastly inconsequential, perhaps intentionally so.

Triangle is a smart little horror – tense, slickly made – but a slow and stodgy middle lets it down. A great central performance and final payoff rescues this from drowning in its own misplaced intelligence. Impressive idea, but very flawed.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

2 Comments on “Triangle”

  1. Jamie Carruthers says:

    I would have thoroughly enjoyed Triangle if not for the existence of Timecrimes. Essentially the same movie, really.
    Triangle was stunningly directed though, and a moody Melissa looks a bit like that woman of Peep Show.
    How about that huge gaping hole at the end? At Frightfest, Chris Smith said that he had post its all over his flat to address every facet of the movie, presumably that one lost its sticky and hit the deck only to be hoovered up or something.

    • David Scullion says:

      Damn straight – I personally think Smith was doing some refurbishing at home and knocked down one of his walls, post-it notes and all. The ones that had “secondary character arcs” written on it.

      Personally I liked the end, and think the gaping hole at this point can easily be explained away with the excuse of “head trauma” or “stressed-induced amnesia” or “mystical forces in the form of The Driver” or “who cares, not much of this made sense anyway”.

      Haven’t seen Timecrimes yet, but I heard Triangle was an inferior version of it. Shame really. After Severance I had high hopes. I told him he should’ve called Danny Dyer. He’d have made a much better Jess… or her autistic kid…

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.