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"Triggered" Review

 Taking a break from Oscar bait and epic superheroics, tonight's movie was something the girlfriend spotted on Hulu, a low-budget high-concept South African B-movie called Triggered, a quick and dirty movie which will now receive a quick and dirty review.

Nine high school friends (though that's a loose term for it) are having a five-year reunion (though judging from how old the actors look, it should be more like ten years) out in the woods 30 miles from the nearest town, which is booked solid for a big soccer game. Why the reunion? No idea. So the movie can happen.

After getting to know our gang of characters played by unknown actors - I just thought of them as Smart Girl, Drummer Guy, Much Older Guy, Hot Chick, Mousey Likely Final Girl, Slutty Girl, Those Bro Guys - and rapidly deciding I was cool with all of them dying for being vapid and annoying, the plot kicks in as they are all gassed (how?) and wake up with explosive vests with countdown timers strapped onto them. (Whut?)

Who did this? Their high school science teacher who blames them for the death of his son, a friend of theirs, who had a heart attack at a party they attended. The vests are interconnected and when time runs out, KABOOM! Last one will time on their clock gets to live at which point he kills himself. With their phones gathered and smashed, and times ranging from 35-45 minutes on their clocks, panic rapidly sets in. 

The stakes are ramped up when they discover that if someone dies before exploding, their remaining time transfer to the player closest to the decedent meaning that if they start killing each other, they can gain enough time to win. As they begin to square off against each other and try to unravel why their teacher thought they were to blame, inevitably details parse out which exposes the truth of what happened back at that party. 

And that's the movie. Blood, screaming, murder and death. Fun for the whole family, if you're the Manson Family perhaps. And it's not bad. Oh, it's not exactly good, but it's quick-paced, inventive, and delivers what it lists on the tin: Anonymous young people getting blowed up real good (though more kills are from edged weapons). Elevating things are some genuinely brilliant lines of dialog like when one couple is listening to another couple rutting like rabid minks in a nearby tent, "I can't tell if they're having sex or performing an exorcism." 

Frankly, after slogging through overhyped Oscar bait this week, this was the junk food I needed to cleanse my palette. It is what it is. Enjoy. 

Score: 6/10. Catch it on cable. (Currently on Hulu)


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