Triangle (Christopher Smith, 2009)
Decided to check out Christopher Smith's nun themed chiller, Consecration (2023) recently. Turned out to be a failure, just like Jenna Malone's British accent in it. I also noticed Smith recycled certain elements from his far superior film, Triangle (2009). Hence, the time was right to give this mindbending film a revisit.
Although it essentially spells things out for attentive viewers by the end credits, Smith's Triangle is a rewarding viewing experience for anyone who might consider themself an aficionado of head scratcher movies. Much like Aolus, the greek god of the four winds, the film runs at a breezy pace thanks to its perpetual time loop concept and all its glitches keep the film feeling fresh throughout.
Deja vu themed films will obviously incur comparisons to Groundhog Day (1993), but Triangle is a very different breed of film; its effects overlap with a past, present and future protagonist co-existing in the loop. There's also the overall tone of the film being much darker completely fixated on the psychological horror of its twisted concept. Smith's film also draws from greek mythology (the legend of Sisyphus) rather than a sci-fi concept that might have been alluded to by its title. Triangle's protagonist, Jess, a struggling mother to a young boy with autism, behaves very strangely from the onset, and things get even weirder for her and her sailing party after a freak storm leaves them adrift on their capsized yacht. A mysterious ocean liner becomes the main location for the oncoming surreal events to follow. Are Jess and her party caught in the legendary Bermuda Triangle? Who is the sackclothed psycho with a shotgun resembling The Phantom Killer? How did Liam Hemsworth land the role of Victor over his brother Chris? Most of these questions will be answered by the finale.
This nautical, noughties enigma is spearheaded by a killer
performance from Aussie actress Melissa George as Jess. This was her
decade since she progressed from bit part film roles after her stint in
the Australian soap opera Home & Away as Angel Parrish, to becoming a bonafide scream queen with a spate of horror films in the 2000s: The Amityville Horror (2005), Turistas (2006) and 30 Days of Night
(2007). To break it down by today's hack media, if they're female and in a horror film, they're automatically granted the moniker of scream queen by default. Them's
the rules, apparently. Nevertheless, Melissa George's
performance in Triangle is the major reason why she is honoured with
Dada Debaser's coveted Best Scream Queen of the 2000s title. Her ability to act automatically makes her one of the better ones, which works to the film's advantage since she realling gets to flex some serious emotional range in the film while still looking great in her daisy dukes. She's phenomenally good in portraying Jess as a fractured and morally grey individual.
Never really noticed the plot holes that some critics have pointed out. My only real gripe; which is minor, are the references to The Shining (1980). The inclusion of the number 237 for both Jess's house and the cabin room felt completely unnecessary. Like some other films from this period, I was also worried the film's visuals might have dated it. Surpringly, the harsh lighting, which was so synoymous with that particular era, served the film incredibly well. Huge fan of the scenes shot on deck which highlight this since they're a prime example of daylight horror done right, in my opinion.
All in all, Triangle was already a great film to begin with, and seeing this again reinforces it as a perfect candidate to my belief that 2009 was an incredible year for cinema. Triangle ought to be considered as the climax to both Australian and British genre during the noughties renaissance. Despite enjoying some of his other movies, Christopher Smith never reached this level of quality again, therefore I consider it his magnum opus. Highly recommended.