Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 Chills: Triangle

Triangle (2009)

The First Cut:
Pretty scenery, pretty cast, good acting, fast pace, a surprisingly horrific scene, and a great twist make for a fun watch. 

I give it a 7 out of 10. It has good wholesome sex appeal, but no nudity.  Gore is sparing but done well. Psychological horror is the heart of this movie, and Melissa George portrays a wide range of emotions ably.  There is a surprisingly cool action sequence near the middle of the movie that really stands out.  

Don't watch this trailer unless you want the movie ruined for you.  I knew nothing about the movie other than it had Melissa George and Liam Hemsworth in it when I started the movie and I was the better for it.  

The Meat:
Melissa George’s legs star in this surprisingly intelligent movie with a really unique twist.  The set up is simple, a group of friends head out on a sail boat and end up in the Bermuda Triangle where they are caught in a freak storm, leaving them capsized.  Help seems to arrive in the form of an ocean liner, but of course, things only get worse from here. 
This is the second time I have seen Melissa George cast a single mother, waitressing in a diner, and with a preference for very short shorts.  Though set in Florida, the cast is entirely Australian.  You would never guess that from the accents in the film.  Notably, not-quite-famous-yet Liam Hemsworth is in it as the hunky deck hand, well before his brother hit fame, or he was in the Hunger Games.  He does a decent job here, and it’s the most acting I have actually seen from him thus far.  Rachel Carpani, who I know from the TV cop show The Glades, has a really good showing in this, and perfectly acts out real terror in the highlight scene of the flick. 

This could have been a bog standard slasher flick.  It has everything you need for that.  They are in an isolated locale with no communications, the main character starts off the film already emotionally unstable, and she is in a social situation where she is being looked down upon.  It could just as easily been a typical ghost ship movie, where the ghosts (or otherwise undead) passengers of the mysterious ocean liner, Aeolus, descend on our castaways to maul and murder them.  Instead, the movie took a different route, one that I have never seen before. 

Some of the best horror movies have a science fiction, or speculative fiction aspect to them.  The most effective horror stories now are those that can spur our imaginations, make us consider realities other than our own, or make us question our significance.  This film does that on multiple levels.  As we vicariously experience Jess’s (Melissa George) day we are treated to a series of revelations that make us question free will, hope, love, and fate. 

The real joy in this movie is the twist unfolding for our protagonist, so I am not going to ruin it for you.  I'll tell you this much.  When our castaways first climb aboard the vessel they discuss the ship's name, Aeolus and his son Sisyphus, condemned to pushing that rock up the hill in Hades for all eternity.  The Greeks really understood hell.  

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