Time travel and horror traditionally never traveled together. That changed with Spain's excellent "Timecrimes," a science fiction movie that had enough elements from our beloved genre that it almost qualified as a horror movie.
2009's time travel mind bender "Triangle" veers further into horror territory. And it does it with gusto. This is a damn fine horror movie, in fact. A "Twilight Zone" episode on steroids.
It doesn't win any awards for originality, however. This suspense film clearly owes its very existence to "Timecrimes," the movies are so similar. But I would say "Triangle" is the better horror movie of the two. It's creepy, scary, violent, blood-drenched -- the most frightening Bermuda Triangle movie ever made, for sure. Is it the better of the two movies overall? Nah. "Timecrimes" is a bit better.
Hopefully, I'm not spoiling too much by mentioning the time travel aspect of it. But, enough of that has been revealed in the trailers already. It looked great in the trailers. I was suspicious that it might suck, given the lameness of "Severance." But needless to say, no self-respecting horror or sci-fi fan will be disappointed by this movie -- even going in with sky-high expectations. This is clearly the film Christopher Smith was born to make.
The film opens with single Mom Melissa George (fresh from genre roles in "The Amityville Horror" and "30 Days of Night") packing her bags and heading away from her autistic son, who doesn't play much of a part in the story. Passing by a Florida street sign that tells her the state hopes she "returns soon," she heads to a harbor where she's slated to go on a yacht cruise with some friends. George's character looks like hell -- having survived some kind of terrible calamity that we're not exactly clear about, yet. While her friends are keen on partying, she mostly mopes about, until the yacht runs into some really bad weather, overturns and the group find themselves stranded on an overturned boat at sea. All seems lost, until a mysterious cruise ship emerges from the fog.
Things are downright creepy on the abandoned ship, which apparently was last inhabited in the 1930s, even though everything on board is in pristine condition, including some fresh fruit that's been left for the unexpected guests. Adding to the creepiness, it's clear that someone is on board somewhere. When a masked killer shows up brandishing a rifle, their dire circumstances become even more obvious.
After describing all that, I'm not going to spoil the film for you. Granted, I've probably spoiled enough by mentioning the words "time travel," but that element is made clear in the trailers already.
"Triangle" is one of the most intelligent, thought provoking genre films in recent memory. It's probably the only movie that can be watched over again, immediately after you've viewed it the first time. Watching it two times in a row, it literally serves as a sequel to itself. How many movies exist that can accomplish that? Maybe "Timecrimes."
This film will always be compared to "Timecrimes" because Smith took so much inspiration from that Spanish masterpiece. But the abandoned ship setting and the presence of a flawed female protagonist makes his film different enough that it deserves to stand on its own. The element that really enables the film to succeed is George. She didn't seem all that remarkable in "Amityville" or "30 Days of Night." Here, she's amazing. She portrays a character that is both sympathetic and loathsome at the same time. She's trapped in a nightmare -- and we're trapped in there with her.
Highly recommended. Hopefully this film will see some kind of theatrical release in the U.S. It enjoyed a small one in the UK before its DVD bow there.