As a horror debut you couldn’t get a more chilling calling card than Creep, the movie which introduced us to the talents of British director and screenwriter Christopher Smith, and made us all totally terrified of the tube.
His follow-up was the slightly more jovial, but much more gory, Severance which saw Danny Dyer running around a forest, covered in blood on a work team-building excursion gone horribly wrong. With his third film Triangle, Smith has taken his horror in a whole new direction, upping the fear, the style and the tension and giving us his best movie yet.
Troubled single mum Jess (Melissa George) joins her friends on a day out sailing on a yacht for some much needed relaxation. Things soon take a terrible twist when the boat is capsized in a monstrous storm. Stranded, they think that their luck has changed when they see a mysterious ocean liner appear, and board it for safety – although all is not what it seems.
Unable to shake the creeping feeling that she has been on this ancient cruise ship before, Jess fears that something is very, very wrong. Her feelings become a reality when she realizes that someone else is on board and that that someone is intent on making sure that they never make it home again.
From the ominous opening, to the unsettling theme which plays over the titles, through to the disturbing twists and turns the story takes, every still of this film creates a total sense of fear in the audience. And it doesn’t let up until the closing credits roll.
Triangle is reminiscent of Kubrick’s The Shining, not only due to the look of the old S.S Aeolus ocean liner and the themes of madness that permeates the piece, but also in the sense of dread which fills every frame.
Smith’s vision is both beautiful and distressing and it is this brilliant stylization which saturates Triangle to its core in the wonderful cinematography, the set design, the editing and the overall look of the movie.
It is also refreshing watching a cast of relative unknowns, all of whom are excellent. Melissa George, a long way from Home and Away, is especially good as jittery Jess giving an edgy performance, and never letting her constant sense of déjà vu and impending horror become annoying or overplayed.
By the end, the plot which is tied up on all sides like the Triangle title suggests, is satisfyingly chilling, if perhaps not as much of a ‘shock’ as it could have been – with a few less signposts on the journey (including the trailer, which in my opinion gives far too much away.)
That said this is an excellent psychological thriller which truly gets under your skin and into the mind of madness. Visually stunning, shockingly inventive and truly spine-chilling. At times Triangle shows Smith to be a true home-grown horror talent.
I can’t wait to see what he does next!
Additional film information: Triangle (2009)