I have always been a firm believer in destiny and the inevitable because I consider a lot of events in my life brought about by pure luck/”unluck.” And so, consequently, I believe in hope. The very definition of hope presumes that there is something that we cannot control and in it a play of destiny and fate versus choice. The movie Triangle tries to play with this very presumption in that the lead character, Jess, goes through a repetitive experience hoping that she can change an outcome.
I had to ask myself why I was so horrified when it had no paranormal factor or the element of the “other” to it, such as ghosts or aliens (I truly am a scaredy cat when it comes to horror films, and yet it’s still so fun to scare myself). At first, I was led to believe that Jess has no control of her situation and all her choices are pre-planned by a mysterious outer force. It was this that scared me because it brings out the never-ending debate of fate versus choice. We do like to believe that we have some sort of a say in the matter of how our lives play out, even if there are stories like Oedipus Rex that have shown us that the end may be inevitable. Although the thought of “endless possibilities” and “make your own adventure” is the modern way of looking at life, the thought of a predetermined future still shakes us all. Destiny tells us that we cannot change the course our lives. In the movie, Jess was trapped — she was in one place repeatedly and without knowing when she would get out. It was so unexpected and unreal that I empathized so much with her character. Taking from the root of my cause for panic, I realized that this is one of the ideas that give the horror film its genre name — it feeds on our greatest fears and the opposite of our expectations. Creepily enough, the ending was a weird one: was she really fighting destiny or was it her own choice?
Another idea that quite scared me was that Jess seemed to be a perfectly normal person, save that she had an autistic son. (And we know that abnormal situations like a “special” child always creates a scary environment…remember The Sixth Sense and Hide and Seek? I shudder). The premise of the horror for me was that she didn’t even deserve what was happening to her, meaning it could happen to anyone and it could very well happen to me. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised (really, it was a pleasant feeling) to find in the end that she had deserved the suffering after all because she was an abusive mom to her autistic son. This may be a bit mean, but like I said, it’s an opinion!
Another factor of distress for me was that she could so easily kill these people (including herself) and make a conscious decision to go through it again. Although I’d say that’s a personal issue already, I was shocked that she would go through such a morally unacceptable routine to “save” her son. It was so morally twisted, simply because one couldn’t tell if she was being a good mother by going through hell and back to somehow relive her son, or if she was being a bad person by wanting to kill all five people in order to do that (even if those people would be somehow alive still, it’s nevertheless weird).
All in all, there are three things in this film that Jess has to grapple with: (1) morality, (2) normality, and (3) destiny/the unknown. These are all things she tries to manipulate by choosing to do it over again in the end. Horrifying, isn’t it?