One of the reasons I do #31DaysofHorror is to catch up on my ever-growing list of films to see in the hope of finding one that blows me away. Triangle is this year’s first such nugget of gold. Jess is a very stressed single mother with an autistic son. She has agreed to meet Viktor, who has asked her to go out on his yacht with some of his friends, but a freak storm capsizes them, and they are rescued by a passing cruise ship. Disturbingly, there are no passengers or crew, and Jess experiences intense déjà vu as they explore the labyrinthine corridors and decks. Then a masked figure starts picking them off.
It’s impossible to write a post like this without spoiling the premise, but then I was switched on to it by a brilliant Projections Podcast episode which talked about it in depth, and knowing what it was didn’t spoil my enjoyment at all. It’s a time loop story, but what’s wonderful about it is the loop is seems to be independent of Jess, who begins to see multiple versions of herself and Viktor’s friends, setting up a gloriously complex plot that still makes total sense, and at the end hits you with a gut punch.
I wrote a full page of notes after watching it, thinking through what it all could mean, which shows how excited I was. It’s about the patterns we find ourselves in, the bad habits we can’t break, especially with the people we love. Jess’s trauma creates a loop in time, a knot she can’t untie herself from, and the cruise ship’s name, Aeolus, aludes to Sisyphus, who was punished by Zeus for twice cheating death and had to push the boulder up the hill for eternity. I spent a good hour trying to work out the point at which she could break the loop, but even at that moment, her propensity for violence doesn’t allow her to behave differently. Hell, indeed. Heartbreaking.