Hello, friends in time, and welcome to a regular feature on Cinema 52 where I put my weekly viewing of Back to the Future on hold and watch another movie featuring time travel for comparison. It may not keep me sane, but it will probably always involve one guy shouting, “This doesn’t make any sense!” And that’s good enough for me.

TRIANGLE (2009)

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Recommended to me by friend-of-the-site Phil Hobby, Triangle is the surprisingly well-reviewed story of Jess (Melissa George), a mother who decides to get away from her kid for a little while by taking a boat trip with her entirely forgettable friends. See the axe and all the blood? Yeap. Set it on Cabin in the Woods auto-pilot.

THE STORY:
Guys, this… this sucked.

Here it is, just… suckin’ away.

So… it’s a horror movie. Do I need to tell you that they find another boat out in the water? One with a killer on it? Have you not yet predicted that the forgettable friends get picked off, but Jess survives because she’s on the cover?

If you called “spoiler alert,” you are painfully unaware of a basic horror staple.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said everything I can say about the story here. It’s a standard horror flick with one twist, which I typically save for the spoilery section. And since this is a weekly column in which I talk about time travel movies, um, hey, forget I said that. I wonder what the twist is!

We’ll talk about it later.

THE ACTING:
Good thing this is a genre known for its acting!

This is Melissa. She screams and shit.

I can’t even keep track of the other actors, because they never matter in a horror movie. One of them is a Hemsworth. He… he dies real good?

Hey. Look at that.

I really wish I could just fart out a clever Leonard Maltin one-line review and get the hell out of here.

Triangle is out of shape.”

Drop the mic.

THE SPECIAL EFFECTS:
Ooh, wait, something to talk about! The majority of the movie takes place at sea, but only a tiny bit of it seems to have actually involved water. Prepare yourself for really bad CGI boats and waves.

Wow, is this an Asylum production?

There are also a lot of fake computer-animated seagulls.

Ha. Sea-G.

I can’t mock much else. There’s nothing visual about the time travel, there are some shots and stunts that look like they were done practically, and it appears that plenty of real fake blood was used, for the most part. Woo hoo.

OTHER (SPOILERY) STUFF:

  • Okay, if you’re a die-hard horror fan, you’ll probably watch this anyway, so here’s your final warning before I spoil the spoils out of these spoilers. Skip ahead now. Alright, so the premise here is that the mystery ship, which is named Aeolus because mythology makes everything smarter, is apparently caught in some sort of time warp in the Bermuda Triangle. The masked murderer going around killing everybody… do I even need to tell you? It’s Jess herself. Okay, fun, they did a neat little immutable timeline thing, and they even set it up in the beginning when their yacht receives a transmission from themselves before they ever arrive on the Aeolus. Okay, seems kinda interesting, but then, when we hit the loop point, New Jess changes things. Damn, fine, something else is going on. At one point, Jess looks down a hole and sees a pile of lockets, at which point her locket falls off of her neck and adds to the collection. Um, fuck, no, this isn’t immutable or mutable, I don’t know what the hell it is now. The last possible explanation I have is that the Bermuda Triangle is a place where alternate realities merge and these are all different– nope, they fucked it again, more piles of objects from Jess’s loops start showing up even after Jess escapes from the Aeolus. The last possible explanations are that it’s all in her mind or she’s in Hell. If you’re listening, Satan, this would be my perfect eternal torture: shitty time travel rules that think they’re being clever but don’t actually make any sense.
  • Spoilers about the tone. Well, it’s scary, right? NO. It’s confusing and annoying. It tries to be more psychological than anything. You could argue that the repetition is something she’s projecting onto herself; she’s traumatized by her own despicable actions and feels she deserves to be punished. Or, again, the Hell thing. They mention Sisyphus at one point. Ugh, the whole thing reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend about how immutable trips aren’t infinite “loops.” They’re straight lines. I’m in Hell right now, aren’t I? I’ve got to get out of this article.

OTHER (SPOILERY) STUFF:

  • I just did this section!

OTHER (SPOILERY) STUFF:

  • This is a dumb gimmick.

OTHER (SPOILERY) STUFF:

  • I’m not doing a “None of this makes any sense!” moment this week.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
It absolutely fails as a time travel movie, mostly fails as a horror movie, and has mild success as a psychological thriller. Still, it never puts its foot down as to what’s going on and doesn’t follow any consistent logic, so why not go off the rails and throw some 1408 bullshit at her? Really fuck Jess up, you know? Of course, the movie could be proving its own madness by how much it frustrates me, but I don’t think torturing your audience and torturing your protagonist are one and the same. For my money, if you want a far more terrifying morality film that horrifies because of its rigid temporal rules, watch Los cronocrímenes.

Wait, I know why Phil recommended this! It’s a metaphor for the Cinema 52 project!

NEXT WEEK:
Ticking Clock (2011), Beyond the Time Barrier (1960)

Want more time travel? Head on over to the Time Out archive.