Going in Circles

It was my first time watching the movie Triangle and after watching the movie, I found myself amazed because there were a lot of unexpected things that happened it the movie. When the movie started, my seatmate and I were trying to guess what would happen in the movie and we had a lot of questions because Jess, the main character, was being weird from the start.

When the ship arrived out of nowhere, I thought it was a ghost ship and that it would be a supernatural movie because there was no one in the ship and Jess kept saying that it was familiar to her and her watch matches the clock on the ship. My initial thought was that she died in that ship and that she didn’t know that she was a ghost.

As the movie progressed, we speculate that it was a slasher film because Victor shows up at the dining hall all bloody. I start to guess the order of the killings: Downey, Victor, Sally, Greg, and Jess. This is because a slasher film is a film wherein there is a serial killer who kills of the people one by one and usually, the last ones to die are the characters with a potential love story because the guy would try to save or protect the girl throughout the movie. Also, in horror movies, there is the concept of the “final girl” wherein the female lead would try to take on the monster herself.

It turns out that Triangle is not a normal slasher film and I wouldn’t have categorized it as horror since I wasn’t really scared of the movie, but after reading General Introduction by Mark Jancovich, I realize that there is more to a horror film than just the scary factor and that there are aspects to it. Horror films involves a monster character and is about entrapment. It becomes horrifying because of the interaction between the known and unknown, the monster’s relationship with normality and under these circumstances, the people as rational beings begin to do things that we wouldn’t normally do. In Jess’ case, it is killing people repeatedly.

The movie can be analysed using the move-based approach to genre in Graham Sleight’s “storying genres”. The move-based approach introduces us John Clute’s four basic moves: sighting, thickening, revel, and aftermath. Sighting is seeing something strange and this acts as a foreshadowing. Thickening is about slowly unravelling the secrets and discovering a “deeper world”. Revel is when you are exposed to the world, usually this is when the monster reveals itself. Aftermath is what happens after the disaster.

Sighting happens in the start of the movie: Jess’ life is shown. The life of a single mother taking care of a child with autism. There were strange occurrences like someone ringing the bell but there was no one there when she got out. She seemed fine at the start but she seemed distraught when she got to the dock. While at sea, they suddenly lose wind and then suddenly, a huge storm approaches them. When the storm passes, suddenly there is a big ship coming their way and when they board it, it seems deserted.

Thickening is depicted in the movie when they explore the ship and there were no people. Also, when they boarded the ship, it seemed like there was someone watching them. At this point, Jess was continually being weird saying that she was experiencing de ja vu and that everything was familiar to her and that she feels like she has been there before.

Revel happens when the killing starts. They come in contact with a masked killer. I remember getting confused in this part because as I mentioned earlier, I thought that Jess and Greg would be the last ones to be targeted but at this point, Greg is killed by the masked killer immediately. Victor is also dying in the dining hall. It was confusing because the pacing of the killings was too fast for a slasher film. Later on, I became more confused when the masked killer kills the couple easily and Jess was left alone on the ship. She goes after the killer and then the killer says to her that she has to kill them all to save their son. After killing the killer, she discovers that there was another “batch” of her friends asking for help. She hides and discovers the basement wherein she finds the notes, necklaces, and outfits. Later on, the monster is revealed to be herself and I found this interesting because as said by Stephen Neale, in movies, the monsters are usually male and the victims are usually female but in this case she is both the monster and the victim.

Aftermath is seen when she “gets out” of the loop and she tries to turn her life back around. Now we are shown the reality of Jess’ life wherein she wasn’t such a caring mother to her child as depicted in the first part of the film. The movie progresses and I realize that she was still stuck in the loop because even though she thinks that she is doing something different with her, along the loop she forgets everything as is just repeating her actions. After the accident, the aftermath is she has to go through it again to save her son.

Overall, I found the movie interesting and it set the bar for all the other films we will be watching throughout the semester. I enjoyed the plot twists in the movie and how they were able to piece together the story without it being that confusing. Although there were questions that were unanswered like: Did Heather really die? Who was the cab driver? Is he maybe Sisyphus, which is the son of Aeolus, the name of the ship? Is there a possibility that the loop will end?

Sources:

Mark Jancovich. “General Introduction.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)

Sleight, Graham. “Storying Genres.” Vector Magazine, n.d.

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