Triggered Movie Review
Written by Becky Roberts
Released by Polanomode Media
Directed by Alastair Orr
Written by David D. Jones
2020, 90 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest UK Premiere on 28th August 2020
Reine Swart as Rian
Sean Cameron Michael as Mr Peterson
Liesl Ahlers as Erin
Craig Urbani as Miller
Suraya Santos as Shea
“Jesus, you're all so annoying", remarks high-school science teacher Mr Peterson (Sean Cameron Michael) as he confronts nine of his former pupils, who wake up in the middle of the woods wearing wired bomb-vests, unknowingly primed to play his deranged, revenge-driven game of survival.
He has a point – they are all pretty annoying, as we learn just minutes before when they’re huddled around a fire during their post-graduation camping trip, reunited for the first time since their classmate died, and unaware of Mr Peterson’s imminent scheme.
Indeed, Triggered wastes no time establishing its knowingly trashy teenage set-up and familiar Battle Royale-esque concept – and, when all the pieces are in position, it has a lot of fun with it.
Like the iconic Japanese thriller and its inspired offspring (The Condemned, Circle etc...), Triggered is, at its heart and soul, a gladiatorial battle of life and death. The participants wear vests with varying time pads that, once run down, cause them to blow up. Murdering a participant tops up their time. The last one standing wins (read: lives). Game on!
Following the UK premiere of his genre-blending House on Willow Street at the 2016 London FrightFest, South African director Alastair Orr returns to the film festival’s (virtual) stage four years on with this less original but more rounded entry to the genre.
This is a full-throttle, yet smartly navigated, exercise in chaos and panic – a teen-angst-driven, killing-spree-in-the-woods rampage that’s consistently smirk-inducing in its self-referentiality and a genuine laugh-out-loud one-liner wonder, but also straight-faced and suspenseful enough to keep you on tenterhooks until its rewarding climax. You have to stomach a lot of screaming, and the kills aren’t exactly ‘Friday the 13th, eat your heart out’ (although maximum kudos goes to the herpes gag kill), but primarily this is pure popcorn horror at its near best.
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