Director: Christopher Smith Release date 16 October Review by John Hunter By naming similar stories that Triangle tries to emulate would also be to give some things away. However, it’s definitely worth warning you what – regardless of what the advertising tells you – you are NOT going to see if you buy a ticket for Triangle: Despite a masked killer, this is not a horror. Despite the scenario of being trapped on a mysterious ocean liner, this is not a thriller. And, despite the three-sided polygon of the title, this sadly doesn’t seem to be a film with a point. Let alone three. But what actually is it? If it’s close to anything it’s Donnie Darko. Cryptic start? Check. Mysterious weather phenomenon in the sky? Check. Baffling yet strangely satisfying ending? Check...ish. However, what Triangle seems to have missed is the pure entertainment that was act two of Donnie. Vivid characters, weird-out moments and visuals and, of course, stuff the audience can actually care about and invest in – regardless of where your genre-smashing plot is going to take you next. Triangle gets going ominously enough with a fragmented opening sequence that introduces Jess (Melissa George), the somewhat haunted single mother of an autistic son. Even though something is clearly wrong and Jess has a bad feeling, she follows up on the offer of Greg – a frequent visitor at the diner where Jess waitresses – and joins him and his friends heading out to sea. Jess’ oddball behaviour soon ostracises her from all but Greg. But it doesn’t matter as, before you can ‘high-concept’, a sudden strange storm capsizes them but puts them in the path of an eerie abandoned cruise liner which appears from the gloom. So far, so good. While the yacht sequence delivers some slightly clumsy exposition, writer-director Smith really builds up a sense of foreboding and tension. Similarly, as the troubled Jess, Melissa George proves that, when it comes to horror, there is much more to her than just being the pretty wife as in Amityville Horror or pretty backpacker in Turistas/Paradise Lost. Jess isn’t just a crazy person, she’s obviously someone suffering some kind of breakdown whilst trying to put a brave face on it all. However, as intrigued as we are to know what Jess’ problem is, the first act does drift along without so much as a clear aim or character goal. The audience are simply left waiting for something to start happening. Unfortunately, once on the suspiciously old yet perfectly preserved ocean liner, a distinct lack of suspense then undermines a sudden spree of deaths. If you’ve seen the trailer for Triangle, you’ve already had a major revelation revealed without seeing the film. Normally, this wouldn’t ruin anything for you in a film like this as it would just be the first of many ‘what the...?’ moments. What follows is a spiralling sequence of repetition that grows tiresome fairly quickly. As Jess, Melissa George now struggles to express anything beyond confusion and bewilderment as she rarely has other characters to exchange with and, when she does, babbles incoherently – trying to explain to her friends what the audience already knows and so neither the audience or the characters really progress. Smith’s plot mechanics technically should be applauded. His manipulation of Jess back and forth through the spiralling repeats, changing her position as the same scenario reappears, must have been a real headache to plot. Yet they are nonetheless easy for the audience to grasp. Smith also creates some very unsettling yet imaginative visuals. Surprising depictions of what Jess plans to do are subsequently revealed as having been attempted already, and to gruesome effect. Where Smith disappoints is in properly engaging the audience and putting them on Jess’ side. There is little jeopardy throughout act two as the nature of this structure means the audience already know exactly where and when it will end. They are simply waiting for it to come about rather than anticipating what could happen next. With little understanding or reason to care why any of this is happening, it is as only as engaging as watching a mouse run through a maze but with no idea if there’s even any cheese at the end. However, the redeeming feature of Triangle is that there is no cheesy ending. While some audiences may detest the lack of explanation, the ambiguous third act serves up a haunting – if slightly drawn out – epilogue that, while not delivering answers, does at least provide some purpose to the questions. Triangle doesn’t end with a twist so much as with an enigmatic sense of maybe not hope, but certainly a second chance. And it would have been a really powerful ending too if it had come at the end of an hour of The X-Files or The Twilight Zone. But, despite a dearth of original ideas, Triangle doesn’t quite make enough sense and just simply doesn’t have enough story, character development or even the hint of a sub-plot to sustain its running time. ‘My son likes things to be done a certain way...otherwise I lose him’ is the key line uttered early on in the film. Unfortunately, the same goes for audiences. While the final ten minutes do retroactively colour earlier parts of the film far more interesting and encourage a second viewing, they can’t quite justify the fact that the film’s middle hour drags when you’re watch it through for the first time. Rating: 5/10