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Film Review: ‘Triggered’ Brings Out Disgust, Not Fear

Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

For horror movie fans, creative ideas for new horror films are beyond exciting. When a film is original, frightening, and has a twist that shocks you, it’s not unusual to find yourself thinking about it for days afterwards. Unfortunately, Alastair Orr and David D. Jones’ new motion picture Triggered delivers zero scares, few inappropriate laughs, and insurmountable amounts of repulsion.

Triggered is the story of a group of nine friends on a camping trip that goes awry. After being drugged with sleeping gas, the group wakes up in the woods with suicide bomb vests strapped to each of them. Upon further examination, they learn that each vest has different times on them and when time runs out, they explode. To make it more interesting, they discover that they can take time from one another by murdering one another. In a race against time, we watch the nine friends form alliances, turn against each other, and try to find a way out of the predicament they’re thrown into.

Samuel Goldwyn Films

At times, the film feels like a rip off of the Saw franchise, and it knows that. In the first half hour, there is dialogue from characters mentioning that this seems a lot like a Saw movie. The main plot for this movie is inventive, and if the bomb vests had been used as a trap in a sequel to the franchise, it would have potential to make a very interesting movie. Nonetheless, Triggered has no connection to Saw, Tobin Bell doesn’t make any appearances to pique our interest, and we’re left with a stale and false version of a notable horror franchise. 

None of the characters are likable in the slightest and mediocre acting is commonplace in this movie. Potentially the best acting comes from Liesl Ahlers who plays Erin in the film. However, that’s not saying much, as even Ahlers doesn’t offer a memorable performance. Some may recognize Ahlers from horror film Friend Request, in which she played the scorned Marina.

The most bizarre acting comes from Russel Crous who plays Kato. Crous has previously been featured in television series such as The Widow and the fellow horror movie Escape Room. The actor delivers a performance of a man on the edge in a stressful situation. However, his voice sounds exactly like Derek Zoolander, and his expressions are outrageous. He’s also given the privilege of delivering the most disgusting and sexist lines the movie has to offer, which doesn’t help.

Director Alastair Orr has a long history of directing, editing, and sometimes writing horror movies. Other titles from Orr include House On Willow Street and Indigenous. While I haven’t yet viewed some of these other works from Orr, this movie certainly doesn’t inspire me to. Instead, I am left wondering what kind of person Orr is to have directed and put his name on such an unsatisfying, unrefined movie.

For David D. Jones, this film marks his film-writing debut. Jones has previously written a handful of episodes of the show The Passenger as well as the upcoming show The Stem. Unfortunately for Jones, the writing is tied with the acting for the worst part of this movie. It feels obvious that Jones has not had prior experience with writing scripts for movies, and it’s hard not to judge his crude, bro-y dialogue choices.

It’s hard to tell if Orr and Jones were trying to craft a horror movie that was also funny. If they were, they were not successful. Rarely the dialogue leads to laughter; more often it has potential to makes viewers uncomfortable. Some of the inappropriate topics mentioned in this film include: priests and pedophilia, giving one another herpes, making fun of mute people to their face knowing they won’t defend themselves, making light of suicide, and describing one another’s “weird looking” penises in detail.

The final twist near the end of the film doesn’t add anything to it. In fact, it makes very little sense. The entire movie relies on the idea that anyone can be a murderer, regardless of how petty the reason may be. And they reveal extremely petty reasons that would never realistically push anyone to take the life of another human being, both in a stressful situation and in normal life.

Triggered does not offer much besides the potential to insult a variety of people who decide to watch and the feeling of it ripping off Saw. If you’re interested in forming your own opinions on this divisive film, keep an eye out for its digital and on demand release on November 6th and please leave comments below.

SCORE: ★

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Written by Kendall Tinston

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