It was just the other weekend that I had watched the Lost at Sea episode of Surviving Disaster (hosted by Cade Cortley), and there was this sense of deja vu in watching the first act of this film, since its six primary characters had embarked on a leisurely sailing expedition of sorts with friends and acquaintances, only for a really sudden and mean electrical storm to catch them offguard, not to mention a vague interception of an SOS distress call, and before you know it, most of the survival skills learnt on television began to be applied by the characters here, though not quite accurately since they were out in the open for some time, until a big black ominous looking cruise ship comes their way of rescue.
And that was the beginning of all things that go bump, a long drawn mystery as to why the ship has to be empty and void of any human life save for our motley crew, and other beings who seem adamant in wanting to finish them off. You may think it's a slasher flick with supernatural elements at this point, but that detracts you from what I thought was the brilliance of the story, as it showed hand pretty early, leaving you guess just what is really up the filmmaker's sleeves. For instance, almost all the principal characters save one were gone before the midway mark, and you'd probably worry what else is there in the film to keep it going, as it continues to dwell on repetition and deja vu.
The name Christopher Smith may not ring any bells, until perhaps I mention he was responsible for Severance, which ranks up there as one of my personal favourites for its really inventive treatment of a horror-comedy-thriller, one that will make you cringe as much as you laugh our loud. The only element that works against his story here is the kind of paradox similarly shared with genres like time-travel that you have to buy into for it to work, but here it's more of a groundhog day situation with the protagonist, single mom Jess (Melissa George) being caught up in a game of survival and to find a way to get herself out of a rut of a cycle.
You see, what I really enjoyed about the film, despite something like this being done to death even by films such as the Matrix trilogy, is that Smith had upped the intensity and complexity without dishing out more than it can handle. Like its title, it's made up of three repeated iterations to get to one full circle, and it is this exploration of each side that makes it really compelling to sit through, as it forces you to perform simultaneous mental gymnastics. Little clues and elements of gore (I hate to say) help keep each iteration fresh, and enabled the story to ultimately be simple and compact to grasp.
Melissa George is also at her element to carry this film through, with scream queen experience obtained from a filmography which includes 30 Days of Night and Turistas, putting her in fine position whether it is like a damsel desperately in distress, or able to dig deep within to try and battle her way out, since her character has an emotional anchor in that of her autistic son who needs to be taken care of back home.
Triangle requires patience, since it throws your preconceived notions of how such a film can get crafted, with enough red herrings and suspenseful moments thrown your way to keep you engaged and at the edge of your seat. While special effects may set to wow you especially when employed on a big scale to bring you the horrors of open ocean sailing into a storm, it is the curveball that ultimately propels this into something more than above average fare. Recommended!