It’s not so often that I find myself raving about films with a “time-loop” sequence, simply because it can get rather annoying. Especially if it reveals so little of the story during a lengthy narration. However, if done right, the film can bring such anticipation and excitement.
Triangle (2009), is one of the few “time-loop” films I have seen under the horror/psychological genre. And one that I truly enjoyed. Though, “Time-Loop” or Deja vu experience really taps into one’s psyche, more often than not these stories use science-fiction (i.e. Primer (2004) 12:01 (1993)) as a way to explain the constant recurrence of the specific event. Unlike, Triangle where an explicit explanation is not present.
Usually, half way through a time loop film, the audiences are aware why the protagonist goes through the cycle. For example in the movies Source Code (2011) and Edge of Tomorrow (2014), both having similar plot lines, where the protagonist is in an alternate reality, tasked to save a mission. But for the movie Triangle, it was only in the end that we were given a rather brief but sufficient explanation of the “Why” she was stuck in this specific time loop.
Jess, the main protagonist of the story also becomes the antagonist slowly revealed throughout the film. She struggles with finding out the truth and the inevitable fate of their lives, that no matter how hard she spins the story and change the narrative, it will always end up to death, in one way or the other.
The brief conversation but rather an important one, explaining the name of the ship the friends embarked on and its relation to the time-loop sequence. Aeolus was a greek mythical god of winds and in one of his stories, he broke a promise thus having to go through the same task over and over again.
The movie opens with light, serene like scenes to set the “normalcy” before all the anticipation kicks in. This pattern is simply redundant in the horror genre. Triangle also uses symbols often found in most horror films. The dark storm that shakes them literally and figuratively, the daunting uninhabited ship, blood and mirrors, a masked serial killer and etc. The whole plot in itself seems as if it has been done one way or the other. Jancovich mentions that in a horror genre, the story either concludes in two ways, the happily ever after or the tragic ending that makes the protagonists story as unsatisfying and painful.
But what makes this genre so exciting is the ability to play with our imaginations and mess our minds. We question how real is real and if what we see (or do not see) is enough to believe that their is anything else in this world beyond our understanding. Jancovich talks about how German Expressionism helped develop the imagination aspect of the horror genre. It focused on the “anti-realist” aesthetic, which is very much also seen in the movie Triangle.
Though this was not the first time I have seen the film, it has been half a decade since I have last laid my eyes on it. The second time around, I tried to catch more details that would answer any underlying questions that I had before. Unfortunately, I could only find the answers through my own interpretation which paved way to a wider understanding of the film.
Allow me to give part of my analysis here, whether or not it was implied by the creators. Those who believe in the magic and the mystical, triangle is an important symbol in the supernatural world. Triangles represent the binding of the earthly world and the spiritual one, and may even seen as a geographical gateway for spirits to crossover and have a hold in this earth. Hence the whole idea of the Bermuda Triangle mythology. Or at least one of them. The setting alone gives way to the story going beyond reality. In this way, the metaphor of the title and it’s meaning gives a somewhat rational explanation of the ongoing recurrence in the life of the protagonist and her struggle to make things right in her own life. At the same time it is possible that the whole story is set in an alternate “reality” that mirrors the world we know.
Source: Janovich, M. (2002). Horror, The Film Reader. London: Routledge