Well. This was quite unexpected.
I’m not a fan of horror movies, I seem to have ingrained it in my head that all horror movies will scare me silly and rob me of sleep for two weeks, just like when I watched Feng Shui as a kid. I sorely underestimated that film’s ability to terrify me. Coming into this film seminar, I expected more of the similar movies… movies with zombies, ghosts, monsters, coupled with some curses and bleeding creatures. Coming into this class, that was what a horror film was to me.
Triangle, then, was not a horror film. I would have considered it as a suspense or thriller, but not really horror. There weren’t any zombies, ghosts, or monsters, and as it turns out, the “monster” or antagonist is simply the protagonist, Jess, in another loop. The movie was a bit dragging and perhaps a bit confusing in the beginning, since it doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. It was just an accumulation of details up until it repeats again, and then everything starts making sense. It’s not really any creature that’s messing things up, but the actual reality, the actual situation. It’s that which makes it scary or horrific, because you can’t control anything (all your attempts to do so just seem to backfire) and you don’t even get to find out what is controlling everything.
In class, it was discussed how a horror story is a weird story…and weird has roots that ties it to the word fate. People often romanticize the concept of fate, but movies and stories such as Triangle show us otherwise. To have a fate means losing control over your life, that your choices no longer matter, that no matter what you choose, you will always end up in a particular situation. You are doomed to whatever the stars or God or whatever that is that decided that it all be this way. I think this would give die-hard believers in fate quite a scare. In Triangle, it’s all about the horror of losing control, of realizing that your free will means absolutely nothing, and that your very “choices” are what leads to all this horror unfolding.
Triangle is not a horror film that makes you squirm and freak out whenever something moves in the corner of your eye. It’s a lot more subtle… freaking you out when suddenly an unfamiliar place becomes eeriely familiar, a jarring deja vu. After watching it that day in class, I was pretty much fine, not really bothered by anything I had seen in the movie (okay, except maybe for the part where the girl dying over and over again is shown. That was a bit icky.). It was when I was walking to my next class when it dawned on me that I would be walking this path over and over again throughout the semester. I wondered, what if I was just in a loop like Jess, just going through the motions because I had to, or because I thought it was my choice. The horror was like molasses creeping up on me, slow and deliberate. In a way, it was less scarier than the horror movies as I had known them, but at the same time, it was a lot scarier. No explanation was ever given for why Jess went through that, and why it was her. It all just happened, and sort of fell into place. Or was already in place. Fate, I guess.
What was a bit creepy for me too was that after this class, I had Philosophy, and what we discussed that day was freedom, about whether we were just reacting to some stimuli and going through the motions or we were totally free and must create our own meaning and lives. Hmm. Well, if I am stuck in some similar loop, I just hope I don’t have to kill my friends over and over again.