VOD film review: Triangle
James R | On 12, Apr 2021
Director: Christopher Smith
Cast: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman, Liam Hemsworth
From Black Death to Severance, Christopher Smith has repeatedly proven himself a director worth paying attention to. That’s the case again with Triangle, his 2009 chiller that strands us on a boat in the middle of nowhere and keeps us there long enough that the passing of time itself becomes unnerving.
Melissa George plays Jess, a young woman who joins a group of friends on a yacht. When their voyage runs into problems, help looms out of the mist in the form of vintage ocean liner – but after scrambling aboard, these passengers realise that something’s gone wrong, and find themselves in a spiralling maze of disorientation and distrust.
It’s a familiar but cleverly constructed web of claustrophobia, and Smith’s knack for choreographing genuinely scary moments is amplified by the eerily realised set and convincing effects. His script is at once a slow-burn and a fast-paced race for survival, playing with such well-worn conventions as visions of doppelgängers, impossible architecture and a niggling sense of deja vu, ending up with what is, in some ways, The Shining at sea.
The cast, which includes a young Liam Hemsworth, dive into these creepy waters with commitment, and their growing shock at seeing bodies repeatedly pile up feeds into George’s magnetic central performance. By the final turn of the wheel, Jess emerges as a poignant figure with more agency than might initially appear, and seeing her attempt to break the characters’ cycle of fear is as absorbing as the haunting ghost ship Smith leaves us endlessly trying to navigate.