Triangle (2009)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Christopher Smith
Writers Christopher Smith
Starring Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman, Henry Nixon, Rachael Carpani, Emma Lung, Liam Hemsworth
Genre Mystery
Tagline Fear comes in waves.


“Downstairs right now is a copy of myself. Me! Walking and talking with Greg.” - Jess

Brit Director Christopher Smith is certainly well known to Down Under dark genre fans with previous movies Creep (2004) and Severance (2006) being well received. Interest was high in Triangle when the movie was announced as a dual Australian and Brit co-production with Smith named to Direct. Melissa George and Emma Lung were cast and the whole she-bang was set for a Queensland shoot. Strangely for a movie being made by Aussies and Brits, the overriding feeling is that we are watching a Yank movie as the film was definitely geared to cracking the North American market first and foremost. Whatever floats your boat, see what I did there, was the movie worth an investment or not by the viewer?

The problem with this review is how to write it without giving away spoilers as to the excellent and all consuming plot of the movie. Director/Writer Smith has made an intricate house of cards masterpiece that will fall down if too much is revealed. This isn't to say that there is no re-watch factor, I got through the movie three times before sitting down to write as each time I was noticing more and more details. There's simply nothing on the screen that doesn't have meaning with Smith matching Brad Anderson's ability to make seemingly random images take on whole new dimensions of meaning as the plot unfolds. So bare with me as I try and skate around the unfolding plot without giving too much away on the spoiler front.

By the way I know our new word limit is being strictly enforced but Triangle is a dark genre classic and hence I'm not going to be held responsible for blowing said word limit out of the water.

After their yacht is capsized in a freak storm, and one member of the cruise is lost at sea, five survivors are seemingly rescued when a passing ocean liner picks them up. The only problem being the crew and passengers of the liner aren't in evidence even though someone was spotted at the railing when the survivors were rescued. It soon becomes apparent that a Psycho killer is aboard the liner who's intention is to weed out the victims unless final girl Jess can work out what's happening. Jess needs to get home to her autistic son regardless of the cost to her new found friends. Put things on a repeat rinse cycle, and go with the flow, Smith is playing one hell of a mind game. Actually the answer boils down to the name of the ocean liner, but you are going to need to think about what you are seeing.

Firstly the name of the movie, Triangle. Director/Writer Smith needed something to base his script on so went with the whole Bermuda Triangle concept to begin with, much to universal groaning from the fans. Do we really need another movie about that infamous myth? As the script evolved Smith gradually removed all references to Bermuda deep sea fishing as his movie really had zero to do with it. Hence the yacht is improbably named Triangle, maybe if the captain was a maths whiz or Egyptologist, to appease the low brow. What “triangle” does relate to is the three phases of realisation central character Jess goes through as she gradually deciphers what is happening. Once again I can't really go into detail here without ruining the story for Triangle virgins.

There are a number of direct influences on the movie and Director Smith isn't afraid to wear those influences on his sleeve. The sack headed psycho design is taken directly from Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981). No Triangle isn't a slasher though it has elements common to slasher movies. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980) directly influences Triangle's design and underlining plot. The long and confusing corridors of the ocean liner match the intricate internal architecture of the Overlook hotel, Jack has always been on staff at the infamous hotel, and the whole room 237 and ballroom are liberally borrowed from Kubrick's movie. No Triangle isn't a ghost story though it has elements common to the traditional ghost story. Finally, apparently the beach scene featuring toward the end of the movie was inspired by A Matter Of Life And Death (1946), but since I haven't seen that movie I'll take peoples' word for it. And no Triangle doesn't match David Niven's trials and tribulations though there are common elements. Smith mixes and matches his influences producing a new twist on their concepts that raises Triangle beyond the common run of the mill horror flick.

Throughout Triangle there are a number of recurrent motifs that have meaning once the movie is viewed in full. In one of the first scenes Jess rescues a capsized toy yacht from her autistic son's wadding pool in a direct reference to events to come. Would love to say more here, but there's that whole plot spoiler thing to worry about. Let's just say Melissa George's (Jess) expression in the scene conveys a whole bunch of meaning once you have seen Triangle in it's entirety. There seems to be a seagull dogging, if that's not mix and matching too much, Jess's every move. And for fun times check some of the artwork in Jess's house. Director Smith adds a whole lot of meaning to apparently background random objects, layering on texture and share artistic splendour.

Director Smith presents with Triangle his most accomplished movie to date. There is a whole dream like quality to the film, reinforced by a stunning performance in the lead from Melissa George, is she getting better with each outing? - with the cinematography being absolutely brilliant. Christian Henson's haunting score adds to the whole atmosphere that Smith creates giving the audience a chilling experience in the macabre. Simply stunning work from Smith getting the most from his cast and crew to present us with a convincing example of what a dark genre movie can achieve in the hands of a competent movie maker. About the only criticism I had of the movie was the under use of Emma Lung, a tragically underrated Actress who deserves some more meatier roles in major productions.

While Triangle will appeal to viewers who want a full bodied red rather than a quick dark genre fix, readers who don't normally immerse themselves in dark delights should also give the movie a view. There's an almost Hitchcock thing going down in Triangle that will appeal to the mainstream that the movie should be targeting. For readers who simply want a movie that goes “boo”, this one might be slightly to cerebral for your instant gratification. As stated the name of the ocean liner is pretty much the clue to what is going down and one character even enlightens us to the Greek myth the name is derived from. Yes, sorry, you are going to have to listen to the dialogue.

After a number of trailers appeared and disappeared from youtube I was sweating on Triangle's release Down Under as the movie looked like a winner. I was not expecting the mind puzzle thrown my way and for once a dark genre blew my expectations out of the water and held me spell bound with it's mysterious ways. A simply stunning performance from Melissa George, and hey I wasn't complaining about those shorts, was matched by a Director who knows his genre and more importantly who knows how to stretch it's boundaries. Quite simply a masterpiece of dark genre cinema and one of the best movies release thus far this Century. Wait for a real twist in the tale with Triangle, Jess isn't the perfect Mum and is clearly under pressure raising an autistic son, there might be an entirely different meaning to the seagull symbolism. Don't you hate it when movies force you to think? Actually just freaked myself out a bit.

Please note: The trailer gives away far too much information.

Icon are releasing the DVD/Blu-ray to the Australian market and as expected from the company an excellent all round package. Highly recommended as a purchase for your collection.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Notch up another dark genre classic.