The next movie in the Christopher Smith filmography, TRIANGLE is as different from SEVERANCE as SEVERANCE was from CREEP. CREEP was a solid freakout and SEVERANCE was most ways a comedy. TRIANGLE is a big brainfucker. It’s a gigantic artistic leap forward. It’s not so outwardly scary, as it is disorienting and unnerving. It’s a much more philosophically unsettling film than either CREEP or SEVERANCE would have suggested.
TRIANGLE is about a troubled single mother (Melissa George) who has a special-needs child at home. She is invited by a friend to get away for a day with some of his friends on a sailing trip. Out on the open seas, the wind dies out, and then a freak storm comes up out of nowhere to blow their boat to shreds. The luck of the five survivors changes when they happen upon a mysterious ocean liner, upon which they are stalked by a hooded figure who aims to kill – when I tell you that what ensues is like a cross between TITANIC and THE SHINING (and MEMENTO and GROUNDHOG DAY), I am ruining no surprises and absolutely under-preparing you for the mind games and creepy moments which TRIANGLE has in store for you. I’d really like to get into intricate plot recapping and involved discussion, but this is such an under-discovered movie that I’d love to encourage horror fans to seek it out and then come back to talk it out with me.
This movie reminds me of that feeling you get when you fall asleep with the DVD menu on (and/or stare at it for too long): It’s strangely tranquil, yet the loop of the visuals and music makes you constantly reassess what you’re looking at until a vaguely eerie mood starts to sink in. That metaphor won’t make much sense to you until you see the movie, which I highly recommend that you do.
This movie is for fans of sophisticated narrative concepts and more intellectual, ideas-based horror — though there are a few good jump-scares and a fair sprinkling of gore. The script by Christopher Smith is uncommonly smart – and, I think, water-tight – and his direction is confident and seamless. The bright, super-saturated cinematography by Robert Humphreys and the brisk, clear editing by Stuart Gazzard, not to mention the excellent score by Christian Henson and the strong performances by the deliberately unfamiliar cast (all Australians tasked with Florida accents); all of these are tools in Smith’s toolbox which are perfectly employed. This isn’t a movie I want to watch again anytime soon, because it was legitimately disturbing, but if I did, I’m sure I’d be even more impressed by its construction. You guys don’t have to worry about all of that film-major stuff, just trust me that if you want to see a genuinely creepy little flick that might even blow your mind a little bit, this one is a good choice.
There’s not much of a through line to Christopher Smith’s filmmaking career so far, except for the fact that all of his movies will be stocked on the horror shelf (some more obviously classifiable as such than others), all of them are cast perfectly, all of them look nice (except in the parts when they’re not supposed to), and they all show a robust interest in new storytelling challenges and techniques. A twisted sense of humor occasionally pokes through as well, but only where it suits the story. The one constant that has clearly emerged, in my opinion anyway, is that this is a filmmaker to watch. So please do that.