Friday, January 24, 2020

The Triangle

The Triangle
David Blair, Nathaniel Peterson, Adam Pitman, Andrew Rizzo, Adam Stilwell

Found footage horror is still a pretty divisive sub-genre. Like zombie movies, the entry bar is so low that virtually anyone with some kind of camera (even a phone cam) can put together a movie. As a result, the horror landscape has been flooded with found footage movies. 99% of them are terrible boarding on unwatchable. While the technical side of a found footage film is accessible, crafting a story and acting that doesn’t break the verisimilitude of the film is extremely difficult. The strength of a found footage movie comes from its naturalism put into contrast with its horror.

The future is... BEARDS.
The Triangle is a slow-burning horror story that immediately sets off an alarm in the viewer with its premise: a group of documentary filmmakers receives a postcard from an old friend begging them for help. That friend has joined a cult/commune in the middle of nowhere Montana. It’s a smart set-up, it gives our protagonists a goal and someone to be concerned for right away and it also puts them in an isolated place with a potentially hostile environment. The Triangle is happy to let the characters stew in that situation for a while, all the while bringing up the actual threat in the background.

The Triangle firmly falls into horror for at least its first 2/3 before taking a weird shift towards a more New Age vibe. I think it is here that the film may lose some viewers. That is not to say that there aren't still some chilling moments in the finale but the force behind a wave of illness that is sweeping the camp has more to do with ancient space beings than an eldritch evil. The film never spells out exactly what is happening but if you are even slightly familiar with a lot of New Age views on extraterrestrial beings, you should be able to understand it.

Welcome to the most racistly named bus in Montana.
The strongest element of The Triangle comes in its representation of the cult, at first they are off-putting as they keep our protagonists at arm’s length until they can be trusted. As that trust is earned we get a more nuanced view of these people who have gone to such extremes to distance themselves from the world underneath it all we see that they are driven, joyous, and relatively happy. A lesser film would have made them misguided or dupes under the sway of a charismatic but unscrupulous leader, instead, we see that they are people trying to make sense of a world they don’t like. The tragedy is that there is another world even more unknowable and malevolent just waiting for them in the place they chose as their refuge.

The Triangle was a pleasant little discovery, it is a competent found footage horror film that has a few surprises and builds to climax that may irritate some, but I found it a fascinating change of pace for a subgenre that is usually stuck in a rut.

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