Of Time Loops and Triangles

I did not expect anything upon learning that we were to watch Triangle (2009) for class. I have never heard of the movie nor did my friends. Completely clueless, I tried guessing what it was going to be about. Was it going to be about a kind of creepy organization, which used the triangle as a symbol or logo of sorts? I really could not quite figure it out, so when the opening scene came on—where Jess and her son were holding onto each other tightly, obviously scared and in distress—I honestly thought it was going to be a slasher film. A creepy person was after them for a reason, maybe for money or for whatever he needed from them, or maybe even without one, and so the two of them were in hiding and praying for their lives to be spared.

Now after watching Triangle, I can say that it really was not anything I had expected. The movie revolved about Jess (Melissa George) being stuck in a loop, and how she continued to try to get out of it by killing her companions one by one in the yacht labelled Triangle. I had barely watched any films featuring time loops, or movies that messed with time in general, and so the concept was new to me. To me it was really strange but unique, and thinking about it makes me feel really… horrified. The movie totally fits John Clute’s definition of horror: strange stories that make you feel helpless when the movie ends because you know you can’t do anything about it anymore. With the loop and being left alone in an endless and meaningless struggle, much like the Myth of Sisyphus, it was very hard to grasp but really something you would not think as an ideal condition, much more so possible. Imagine living like that? Like Jess, I think I would feel really lost and desperate to stop it all so I can go home and just rest with my loved ones, to the point that I can even kill other people. Jess even killed the guy who’s been showing some interest over her, Greg (Michael Dorman). That is really scary—thinking about what you can do at desperate and unfamiliar circumstances when even you condemn such acts normally. Scary how you, ordinary as can be, can become the monster or the villain when you have always thought they are of the extraordinary or despised nature. With this movie, even you can be pushed out of your usual self.

Thinking about how the movie made me feel scared even without a typical monster—a ghost maybe, werewolves and such—made it even scarier. While most films classified under the horror genre had monsters as antagonists such as a vampire or a nighttime killer, Triangle did not have such a thing. But even without that kind of element, the emotion evoked—horror—was very successfully brought about by the movie. How was it done? Perhaps by using a peculiar plot, something deemed impossible and unthinkable. Then illustrating that in the movie in such a way as to make you think—what if it really can be? And what do I do then? And again, the thought of being desperate in such an inescapable fate as in a time loop and being able to do whatever you think you need to such as killing is really terrifying, both for yourself and for other people. I think that is what brings about the horror in Triangle. It makes you think of something you never dared think about, makes you wonder of certain possibilities that you had previously dismissed as impossibilities. The unknown and uncertain just terrifies you, does it not? Being human and all, we have our limitations to not know anything until something is presented to you or up until you experience it firsthand. Completely terrifying to not know what will be coming, or simply, to not know is nerve-wracking and just makes you wonder some more. The movie Triangle just reminds all of us that we can dismiss anything as impossible just like that, because we are unable to think of anything beyond our experiences. But what if the impossible becomes possible? Like the movie Triangle, what if phenomena like time travel and time loops and becoming stuck in Jess’s situation becomes possible and very much real?

With the movie, such questions and feelings are evoked. I grade it A+ for making me feel weird and scared and uncomfortable about things right now. I live for movies like this, those that play with my emotions to the point of being horrified for the reasons I have mentioned. I hope for more movies like Triangle, not being cliché, and having unique storylines as a film that can be considered horror.



  1. Clute, J. The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror. Cauheegan, Wisc.: Payseur & Schmidt, 2006. Print.




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