Florida. Jess (George), single mother of an autistic son, accepts an invitation from nice guy Greg (Dorman) to take a yacht trip. A freak storm capsizes the boat, and the survivors board a mysteriously abandoned cruise-liner where they are persecuted by a somehow-familiar mystery attacker.
Writer-director Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance) manages to spin a Twilight Zone-ish tale into a feature by having two premises, both tied to the Bermuda Triangle — the general weirdness zone off the coast of Florida which was once the locus of everything strange but has fallen a little off the radar recently. The main thrust is tricky time-twisting, as the protagonist loops back on herself in an eternal cycle, reminiscent (even in its Möbius-strip character arc) of the little-seen Spanish Timecrimes — though probably inspired by Memento or Groundhog Day. Creepy moments have the heroine come across piles of identical lockets, wounded women or dead seagulls which prove she has been here many, many times before and will be here many, many times again, even as she is determined to break out of the time-bubble.
Bolted onto this is maritime haunted-vessel business (cf: Death Ship, Ghost Ship), as a small group of friends, plus an unwary newcomer with her own secrets, board a drifting cruise-liner which is definitely undermanned and may even be entirely deserted (the film never gets round to exploring the ship’s backstory). It’s the sort of script that must have required a lot of Post-it notes to keep track of, but Smith plays so fair Triangle could probably work on a double-bill with itself. The fill-in-the-blanks rerun of the opening reel in the last act makes you eager to look again at the initial sequence to see just where the lacunae (which contain big reveals) were slipped in. Melissa George, hitherto the more affordable Naomi Watts, is impressive in a complex role which requires her to spend quite a bit of the film not giving too much away while not registering as a total blank.
In its setting and moments of bloody violence, Triangle has something in common with Adrift and Donkey Punch — though it plays a deeper, more supernatural game than these suspense shockers. The business with the Mary Celeste-like ghost ship is familiar, but no less enjoyable — with good use of locales like a ballroom set with a huge buffet, a theatre waiting for an audience and the row of clinking rings where the lifeboats ought to be attached.
A satisfying mind-twister, with an unexpectedly poignant pay-off. Youll see where its going quite early on, but it still keeps some shocks back for the final act.