REVIEW: The Triangle
– By Sooz Webb
It’s normally safe to assume that the more people in charge of a project, the easier it is for it to deteriorate into a cacophony of chaos, with egos jostling to brand their creative trademark on proceedings. Not so with The Triangle, which comes with a quintet of writer/directors attached, who work with one vision in mind, to create something dark, unnerving and totally delicious. If my review seems vague, that’s intentional. To potentially give too much away would spoil the enjoyment of the film, and I highly recommend you seek this one out as it’s rare to find an endeavour such as this, which is so full of fresh and invigorating concepts.
The film concerns a group of documentary making buddies and opens with a postcard they receive from a mate who’s been off grid for a while. Their interest and concern is piqued, as the note concludes with ‘we need your help’. Eeep! Ambiguous much? You betcha! But nothing gets our noses twitching like a good old fashioned mystery. Even if it sounds vaguely sinister.
So, naturally, the lads head off on a road trip, to find out what kind of help and where exactly their erstwhile pal is. And when I say road trip, I mean back roads. Waaaaay out to buttfuck nowhere. Down the kind of roads that Pet Cemeteries Jud Crandall would warn you away from. We’re treated to a montage of their journey, through split screen visuals, denoting the time frame of their pilgrimage, and just how ‘far out’ these guys have to go. We also get to meet some of the local yokels, who make the inhabitants of Royston Vasey seem warm and inviting.
When they reach their destination, the filmmakers are welcomed into the commune with whom their pal now resides. Well, I say welcomed, there’s a definite vibe from some members of the camp that they are not happy to have outsiders encroaching on their privacy. Even less so, as they’ve brought technology and beliefs that the inhabitants have intentionally moved away from, into their shielded and cult like word.
Tension starts to build, as the settlers begin to spout the kind of pseudo intellectualism and ideological hogwash usually reserved for late night conversations over cheap booze and jazz cigarettes. And as patient, accepting and non judgmental as the crew try to be (well, at least to their faces anyway), the community are stubborn, argumentative and uncooperative, flying off the handle when requests, such as release forms being signed, are made. And it’s at this point that we assume we can guess what’s going to happen. Uh-oh, a group of indoctrinated peeps who don’t appreciate their personal space being invaded, surely we’ve seen it all before haven’t we. Short answer: no. Without getting into spoiler territory, because it really is worth going into this film with as little knowledge as possible, the plot twists, more than once, to keep us off kilter, uneasy and unsure about what destination we’re going to end up in. And it’s the ever present sense of disquiet that plays on our minds, even after the movie’s over.
The eeriest part of the film though, is how natural it all seems. It never comes across as acted, as if we are actually watching a documentary, rather than another entry to the ever expanding roster of found footage. And in a day and age where those two words can cause people to physically wretch, that’s pretty good going. The marketing suggests that viewers should have no prior knowledge of the premise, and that totally works in it’s favour. We’re engaged from the off, enticed by the creepy postcard, gripped by the atmosphere and strange occurrences, and perturbed by the shift in gears which lead to a puzzling ending. An ending which, a week after viewing, is still rattling around my brain today.
A haunting exploration of familiar themes, The Triangle is a highly polished film which subverts all expectation. Pushing boundaries to create something recognisable yet revitalizing, it’s highly recommended, and I look forward to seeing what the collective will come up with next.