A few years ago, filmmaker Christopher Smith wrote and directed Severance, a flip splatter-fest so typical to the low-budget horror scene that it proved him mechanically capable of making a movie and little else; there was no sensibility other than a love of past DIY horror pictures. Smith’s latest, Triangle, is more polished (bigger budget) but equally impersonal; quotations of movies are still the only thing on the director’s mind.
Triangle concerns a crew of attractive thirtysomethings who spring for an idle sail in the Bermuda Triangle that proves to be even more foolish than one would normally assume, as one of the passengers, Jess (Melissa George), appears to be a) guilty of something portentous and vague, b) experiencing a pronounced case of déjà vu, and c) generally suffering from an old-fashioned movie nervous breakdown, which includes sleeping, wandering, and muttering obvious exposition. The picture is generally bland, particularly the TV-movie acting, but Smith does occasionally show talent, especially with effective, unsettlingly bright and empty scope-ratio ocean vistas, a few startling acts of bloodshed, and some well-employed ambient sleeping-dinosaur engine sounds once the crew boards the requisitely anachronistic ghost ship, though the ship itself underscores Smith’s continuing preoccupation with past movies at the expense of the present: A smaller, less ridiculous, less obviously-CG-animated ship would be scarier, but that wouldn’t allow for Smith the opportunity to rip off Kubrick’s The Shining (including long hallway tracking shots, illusory food and drink, and bloody words scrawled on a mirror) as well as probably every supernatural boat movie every made.
Triangle also suffers an unfortunate coincidence. Superficial differences aside, it’s almost the same movie as the recent, far superior Timecrimes, which had a budget somewhere in the neighborhood of El Mariachi. The intimacy of the menace in Timecrimes was terrifying; there was little remove between the lead and us as he found himself entangled in an increasingly desperate scenario almost literally in his backyard. Triangle distances us with too-familiar, ultimately too-redundant (hint: a reference to Sisyphus is very purposefully placed early on) genre tropes. George, with her gorgeous yet slightly mismatched features, helps out a bit; she’s more touching than your typical fleshy, young horror-movie babe, and she does look pretty sharp dodging killers in her white tank top and short shorts, proving that even rips in the time-space continuum can have their advantages.
The Blu-ray image is crystal, which is good and bad: good for those eerie/gorgeous ocean landscapes in the beginning; bad for exposing the cartoonish, overly elaborate ghost ship to be an obvious special effect (and if it isn't, it certainly looks like one). The sound is impressively immersive, which is particularly evident in the admittedly well-edited chase scenes and shootouts.
Not much, a few (typical) cast and crew interviews and previews.
Triangle is a forgettable direct-to-video horror picture with occasional hints of promise.