Way back at FrightFest 2016 I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing director Alastair Orr who had come to the event with the cast and crew of From A House On Willow Street which played at the fantastic festival that year.
Flashing forward to 2020 as I sit in my living room with my laptop in front of me counting down the seconds till Orr’s latest film Triggered starts at this year virtual festival I can’t help but feel a pang of sadness. This is FrightFest but not as we know it and the lack of the huge cinema screen, the overpriced snacks and most importantly the audience around me is palpable, poignant and painful.
Thankfully Orr’s full on crazed film was just the thing to kick my morbid and morose meanderings in the ass and remind me that even though FrightFest might not be the same this year the quality and insanity of the movies they have selected certainly is.
The setup is stunningly simple as nine friends meet up in the woods to reminisce on their time at high school and regret the untimely passing of one of their number. As the night progresses drink and drugs are consumed, sex is had and old arguments start back up.
Before they know it however the group is gassed awaking to find they have all been fitted with bomb vests primed with ticking timers. The man responsible is their old science teacher and the father of the friend that died all those years ago. He informs them that they will be playing his game now and the only way they can survive is to turn on each other.
Will the gang join together and use their intellect to outwit the situation or deteriorate into a feral pack of murderous maniacs? Luckily I can tell you it’s the second one and this transforms Triggered into a hugely entertaining and gore ridden ride.
Playing out like a video game the characters search areas, collect weapons, team up and then turn on each other battling it out in one on one fights like your favourite beat ’em up. Instead of health bars hanging over their heads they have clocks counting down on their chests and the desire to avoid death pushes the unwilling participants off the edge making them do anything to stay alive and slay their school mates.
The ensemble cast are all good with the characters all starting out as archetypal horror clichés and gradually evolving over the course of the movie as secrets are spilled and lies fly around uncovering who they all truly are.
For such a frantic fast paced action horror Alastair Orr manages to inject a decent amount of story in as well making the most of the limited setting to create a film that looks far more slick and stylish than many bigger budget Hollywood pictures. Writer David D. Jones script is solid except for some of the annoying movie jokes and references which I could have personally done without.
Blending Battle Royale with retro gamer logic Triggered is packed with people running, yelling, panicking and beating the living crap out of each other making it the perfect late night movie that is sure to please horror fans looking for a blood splattered joy ride rather than an intellectual thought piece.