15th Oct2020

Grimmfest 2020: ‘Triggered’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Liesl Ahlers, Reine Swart, Steven John Ward, Craig Urbani, Russell Crous, Sean Cameron Michael | Written by David D. Jones | Directed by Alastair Orr

Friendships are put to the test when nine former classmates on a reunion camping trip awake to find they’re locked into explosive vests with countdown timers on them. The only way to get more time? Kill each other…

Sometimes it’s unfortunate for filmmakers that the cast they put together can be, ultimately, unlikeable in the eyes of the audience. However in some cases, especially in horror films, having an unlikeable cast actually adds an extra dimension to your movie. Case in point, Triggered.

Directed by Alastair Orr, Triggered is the kind of film where instead of cheering on one of the characters to live, to survive in the face of adversity, to be victorious without stooping to the lows of killing, you essentially look forward to seeing who dies next and even moreso HOW they die. The more violent and more gruesome the better!

Speaking of Orr, back when his 2016 film Indigenous was released in the UK (under the title of Prey) I commented that that film took a lot of time merely getting to the core of the film, wasting time on travelogue-esque footage. The same CANNOT be said of Triggered. From the moment the film opens there’s nary a second goes by where something’s not going on: the plot is laid out thick and fast; the introduction to the characters is short and sweet; and the action never really lets up.

Though to be fair to Triggered, whilst the action, gore and violence is the focus of the film, there’s some fantastic character development that accompanies it. Character development which keeps going throughout the films runtime – in fact high to the VERY end of Triggered. Literally. There’s also some great twists when it comes to the characters too and expectations are most-certainly subverted. So much so that I was shocked by one of the plot reveals – the one which actually led to this entire nightmare in the woods scenario.

There’s an obvious influence from Saw here too – the devices strapped to our characters chests, the near-impossible situation everyone finds themselves in, and the “every man (and woman) for themselves” bravado that permeated that horror franchise is at play here too. Though the characters/victims here in Triggered are, ultimately, a lot more ruthless than those in Saw. Which, on the plus side, means that when folks do get their comeuppance you can’t help but actually smile!

Part Saw, part slasher movie, Triggered explosively (pun intended) puts the fun back in fear!

***½  3.5/5

Triggered screened on Saturday October 10th as part of this years Grimmfest virtual festival.

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