Note: I'm not sure I need to mention this but just in case someone doesn't understand, clicking to proceed past the bump will spoil this movie for you. We will be discussing surprises, major plot points, and even the ending so if you haven't seen the film please do not click through. But again, if you haven't seen the film, why would want to participate in the discussion? Fair warning!
I am curious, how much did you know about this film going into it? Had you heard buzz from other horror fans? Did you become intrigued because of the Horror Squad coverage? If so, did you read many synopses or reviews prior to watching the film? What I found is that, though many of my compatriots were talking about it, the fact that I went into that first viewing blind proved quite fortunate. This is a high-concept experiment in psychological horror disguised as a simple slasher flick. When that boat came drifting through the malaise I, being blissfully ignorant, expected nothing more than a ghost ship film. I think if I had even an inkling of the surprises about I was about to experience, the film would have lost a significant amount of its punch. So the first thing I want to know is how much you knew?
I do not expect everyone in this discussion to have loved Triangle; don't even expect all of you to have liked it but at all. The thing that I foresee causing a monumental divide in audiences is the twist. That moment when we figure you that the killer is really our heroine and that the events of the stranded boaters are in perpetual loop. But I ask you, is this a twist? To me, a twist is something true from the start of the film that the filmmakers hide from the audience until the very end so we have very little time to question the validity of such a turn before the end credits. I don't have anything against twists necessarily, but I feel the connotation of the word harbors some ill-will from viewers. We've all been jerked around by films that cared more about dropping our jaws at the climax than keeping us engaged through their entirety. What's worse is when the curtains are pulled back and the twist is wholly incongruent to anything you'd seen up until that point.
But when something you did not expect is introduced at the tail of the second act that effectively organizes the framework of all the events to follow, is that the same thing? After my initial viewing, I scoured the web for further critical perspective and the one word I found in almost every review was "twist." I wholeheartedly believe that the "twist" in Triangle is not a twist at all but a legitimate reveal of the film's concept. To me, it would be like calling Clarice's interviewing Hannibal Lecter to find Buffalo Bill a twist of Silence of the Lambs. It's actually what drives the story and motivates the characters, but because it is supremely unconventional, it's been dubbed a twist and therefore bears the stigma therein.
The Recycling Story
Did anyone find it difficult to follow? I in no way pose this question to make accusations as to anyone's intelligence, I think the complexity of this film and its multitude of layers makes it incredibly arduous to put all necessary pieces together. Fellow Horror Squad commando Luke Mullen and I had to pause the film at several points and discuss/debate the connection of individual events or character actions to the overlying plot structure. What I found by the end is that while not everything works perfectly, there isn't any one moment that seems incontrovertibly at odds with the idea. My favorite moment is when Melissa George's character finds the stockpile of deceased friends (that is one friend having produced copious corpses). I also loved how it motivated George herself to first run from the killer, then try to stop him, and finally become the killer. It sort of reminded me of The Shining in that the location held an inescapable curse that the afflicted is forced to relive eternally.
There are two things that strike me about the ending. First, I absolutely love that by the time she finally makes it back home, she realizes that her entire motivation for escaping the ship was a fraud. Not that her son didn't exist, that would have been cheap I think, but she had conveniently repressed the fact that she was a terribly abusive mother. The moment wherein she decides to that murdering her former self is the only way to protect her son is immensely interesting and I love that she carries it out with no hesitation. But the moment that really seals this film for me is at the very end when she loses her son in the crash and makes the decision to endure all the torment of that fateful boat trip again in the off chance that it might reunite them. It's a beautiful ending that speaks to the power of motherly love...in a horror film!
So that's all I'm going to say; don't want to Bogart the conversation. Tell me what you think! And be sure to check out next week's HS Movie Club selection: Phantasm