Jess is preparing to take her autistic son Tommy on a boat trip with her friend Greg, and while getting both her and her son ready the doorbell suddenly rings. No one is on the other side. Later, Jess drives to Florida and meets up with Greg at the harbor. She arrives without Tommy, and explains that he is at his special needs school. They board the boat, together with Greg’s friends Sally, Downey and Heather. Soon afterwards, a storm is approaching and Greg picks up a distress signal from a woman pleading for help. She says she’s in danger as someone is killing off the crew members on the boat she’s on, but before this woman can complete the conversation Greg’s boat capsizes. The survivors then boards a passing ocean liner, which appears to be deserted, but they saw the silhouette of someone apparently ignoring their pleas for help when wanting to board the ship. Jess gets an uncomfortable feeling of déja vu when exploring the ship, and after discovering her own keys near a display case for the ship, which is named Aeolus, a lot of strange things start happening. Jess finds that she is stuck in a time-loop that keeps repeating itself, and she must try to figure out a way to break it.
Triangle is a psychological horror film from 2009, written and directed by Christopher Smith whose directorial debut was Creep (2004). The film is partly based on the story of Sisyphus, a Greek mythological figure cursed to repeatedly push a boulder up a hill without ever reaching the top. He was also inspired by Dead of Night (1945) and Memento (2000). The movie was filmed on sets and location in Queensland, Australia. It received favorable reviews upon its release, both from critics and audience, but still grossed only $1.3-1.6 million worldwide on a budget of $12 million. Ouch. But it also didn’t have a theatrical release in the US.
While Groundhog-day horror movies where time-loops keep the protagonists struggling with figuring out how to break them is nothing new, and some of them take on a more lighthearted variant like for example Happy Death Day. This movie on the other hand keeps everything considerably more dark and mysterious. Triangle is like a puzzle of pieces which start fitting together one by one, and small details which previously might have seemed insignificant proves to tie things together. What makes the movie even more effective is how the protagonist, Jess, keeps trying literally everything in order to break the loop, and while both she and the viewers think “aha, now she’s on to something!” we suddenly see that she’s already tried that exact same thing dozens of times in earlier loops. There is very little predictability here, and keeps you guessing throughout, making it a very entertaining watch.
On the whole, Triangle is a fun and thrilling time-loop horror movie, and despite having a conclusion that some might find a bit inadequate, it still ends up as a satisfactory ride.
Writer and director: Christopher Smith
Country & year: UK, Australia, 2009
Voice actors: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman, Henry Nixon, Rachael Carpani, Emma Lung, Liam Hemsworth, Bryan Probets