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DVD Review: Triangle (2009)

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If ever someone was in need of a little R&R, even for the day, it’s Jess (Melissa George), an exhausted and distracted single mother of an autistic child. That R&R is in the form of a sailing trip with her friend, Greg (Michael Dorman), a handful of his friends, bright sunshine, and the wide open Atlantic Ocean aboard his vessel, Triangle.

While everyone else is chatting away, Greg finally gets Jess to relax a bit and have some fun. Unfortunately, the fun is short-lived, because soon the wind disappears completely, dropping the sail and forcing the merry makers to fall back on the boat’s engine to get them safely back to the elusive shore.

Before they can even crank the engine, they hear a strange distress call on the radio, then nothing but static. Then, a wild electrical storm moves quickly and hits the boat, which eventually capsizes. (The storm special effects start off intense and believable in the distance, but when the storm hits the boat itself, the effect is a bit cheesy, with what seem to be buckets of water thrown at the cast to douse them.)

With one member of the group unaccounted for, everyone else is able to scramble onto the overturned boat. When the group spots a passing ocean liner and someone on deck, this appears to be their salvation, and they climb aboard.

The group sets about determining if the ship, the S.S. Aeolus, is deserted, as it appears to be, or if they are being toyed with by the ship’s crew for some reason. The corridors are long, gloomy, and ominous (leaving Jess with déjà vu), the rooms are cold and empty, and there’s even a mysterious blood trail.

The biggest plot twist of Triangle is revealed less than halfway through the film, but that doesn’t mean that things quickly fall into place. Rather, it’s a game of one step forward, two steps back, where every time one new plot element is revealed, two more interesting questions are attached to said reveal.

Although there is some slashing in this film, slashing that is both shocking and brutal, Triangle is 95% mystery and 5% “horror.” It’s all the details that make this film what it is, with the reason behind the actions weighing far more than who is doing what to whom.

The film also stars Liam Hemsworth, Rachael Carpani, Emma Lung, Henry Nixon, and Joshua McIvor, but the star is George, who does a great job acting both terrified and weird, and manages to be at once pitiful and strong, a contradiction in terms that becomes more important as the film evolves.

Writer/director Christopher Smith does an excellent job of doling out just enough information that you think you know what’s going on, and then he ups and drops another layer of mystery on top of everything—enough to keep you guessing, but not enough to make you give up.

The film is presented in 16 X 9 2.35 Anamorphic Widescreen aspect ration, with audio in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and English 2.0 stereo, and subtitles in English SDH and Spanish. It has a 98-minute run time and is rated R.

There is only one measly extra included, the six-minute cast/crew interviews, which address what each of the characters brings to the table, George's work in the lead, a brief overview of creating the storm that capsized Triangle, and the construction of the ocean liner set.

Part The Twilight Zone and part The Shining, Triangle will keep viewers guessing up until the very end, and that’s what makes it so damn good.

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