As a self-proclaimed fan of horror I always assumed I had a firm grasp on what a horror film was actually constituted of. I was pretty sure I had the understanding that the presence of a ‘monster’, whether it was in the form of an actual monster, a ghost, an alien, or a human pushed to insanity or demonic possession, was what made a horror movie a horror movie. Even the Blair Witch Project, which never really showed you the ‘monster’, showed you that there was something tormenting the protagonists, and there was something that was to be feared.
So when the first film shown in our horror film class was a film that did not contain any sort of monster that terrorized the protagonists at all, but instead a situation or, if I may, a destiny that was terrifying, that opened my eyes and made me realize how much broader the horror genre was and ultimately how much more powerful it is, in that it can tap so many other branches of fear that we don’t even realize sometimes.
The absence of a ‘monster’ in this movie shifted my views and stirred some very interesting emotions in me. First, the presence of a monster in a horror movie means that the protagonists are somewhat in charge of their fate, that they still kind of have the power to destroy the monster, and that they can tap into whatever it is in themselves to destroy the being that is threatening their lives. However in Triangle, the ‘monster’ is an unknown force encompassing the world of the main character. It’s something seemingly inescapable and unbeatable, as the structure of the story appears to be that of a spiral, constantly expanding, with every twist turning into a trap that digs the protagonist in a deeper hole, but also making the world a bigger one. The structure of the story is somewhat a paradox in that as the range of the world in which the protagonist is trapped in gets bigger, that certain feeling of entrapment gets worse.
At first, I judged the film based on the usual horror movie formula, and how it didn’t seem to fit it so much. For example, although the pace of the film in the beginning, and the way the main character acted were indeed gloomy and sad, the coloring and tone was unusually bright for a scary movie. Also, the way the girl acted in the beginning seemed a little cliché, where she was the “strange misunderstood” girl who had a lot of problems but would be the special one who would eventually survive in the end. But I learned that all these things would add up in the end. It was really interesting to see myself get proven wrong for judging her in the beginning when it’s revealed that the way she acted in the beginning came from something incredibly significant after all.
Lastly, I enjoyed how the film didn’t try to explain itself. And I especially liked it when the only sliver of an explanation was when the main characters talked about the myth of Sisyphus. It wasn’t really an explanation for what was going on, it was more of a way of setting up for the audience that something like this was going to happen.
It’s a very interesting movie, and although there are still some plot holes I find that it is incredibly well done. Despite not being a fast-paced ghost movie, I find this to be one of the most terrifying movies I’ve seen in a while.