‘Triggered’ (2020) Review

“What would you do to survive?”

Self-aware, cynical, dark, and incredibly frenzied, Triggered asks a familiar question heard in many horror films; “What would you do, or better yet, who would you be willing to kill, so that you could survive?”

After a crazy night of partying in a remote wooded location, nine former school friends find themselves in a horrible dilemma. As it turns out, this is a group of very selfish and narcissistic millennials who never got over their betrayals and rivalries from back in the day. They are also kin to a terrible secret dealing with the death of their friend Caleb.

Surprising them at the campout is Mr. Peterson, who is Caleb’s father and their ex science teacher. Mr. Peterson apparently knocked them all out somehow and while they were unconscious, strapped a suicide bomb vest to each of their chests. Much like an escape room situation, each person has a specific amount of time on their countdown clock until they will explode.

Reminiscent of Battle Royal, Hunger Games, and even Saw, Triggered pits these so-called friends against each other in a life or death, insane, and go-for-broke extravaganza. There is a lot of running around, arguing, screaming, and blaming to be had. But it does not take long before they realize that if they kill one of the others or are just in the same proximity of someone who dies, they get the other person’s time added to their clock. Only one person will come out of this alive. The big question is who will survive and why would Mr. Peterson do this to them?

I must admit I’m a bit on the fence on how I feel about this film.

2020, despite being a sucky year in almost every way, it has provided some of the best horror films ever. So there are some great movies to compete with. Triggered starts the action quickly and literally with a bang, and the pace is extremely berserk from then on. Sometimes slow-burn movies put me to sleep but Triggered kept my attention with all the mania. The main problem I had though was that the storyline is thin and silly in many places. Which would have lost me if the film hadn’t moved along so fast!

Some of the reasons it worked, were of the basic variety. The cinematography and moody lighting created a wonderful atmosphere, even if it was a bit dark in places. The use of color worked to make it feel like a video game gone wrong. Each scene had a different color scheme depending on the color on the count-down clock and how much time the wearer had left. The cast is luckily a talented bunch, which helped when they had to say some extremely dorky things. Even though the film made me laugh at times, there was an equal amount of eye-rolling too.

Triggered is simply another Cabin in the Woods type slasher film, well minus the cabin. All the other elements were there. Good-looking young people running around in the woods, a person from their past who wants revenge, violent bloody deaths, and of course sex in the woods. It also goes without saying that none of these characters are very likable. They are mostly crappy people in real life, so then it’s just a waiting game to see who dies next when their survival instincts kick in. I wasn’t really invested in wanting any of them to make it to the end. I did however want to know what the big secret with Caleb was, and was moderately pleased with the surprise twist at the end.

Director Alastair Orr’s Statement:
“I set out to make a film that I would watch as a teenager. I didn’t want something serious or heavy-handed. I wanted to make a fun as hell midnight movie that riffs on the “BattleRoyale” genre and the types of kill game films that came before—SAW meets American Pie. I thought it would be hilarious to see sensitive, woke, SJW millennials being thrown into a grizzly deathmatch, where they are more concerned about their own superficial feelings than the game that their tormentor wants to play.

We’ve seen countless contained thrillers where strangers wake up in a room and they have to work together to get out of, or kill each other before the clock hits zero. I always found that this was a wasted opportunity. It’s so much easier to kill or torture someone you don’t know. If you put a family member, or friends, in this kill or be killed scenario, aren’t you going to get so much more mileage, so much more irony and twisted humor? How long before your defense mechanisms or politeness drops?

When you have to choose between you and your long-term girlfriend (who you’ve been thinking about dumping anyway), what kind of situations can come out of that conflict? We can literally have friends stabbing each other in the back. Although we encapsulate our story in something that feels like it’s been done before, we’re able to offer up a new and unique take on it which allows for a damn fun ride”

If you are a fan of slasher movies, escape rooms, shallow characters, and bodies blowing up, then Triggered is a must-see for you! Director Alastair Orr has made a fun and frenzied new horror film, just for you.

Triggered is set for a November 6, 2020 release on digital and VOD.

No Comment

Leave a Reply