By Rich Cline
British filmmaker Smith (Severance) comes up with an effectively disorienting premise that consistently keeps us both unsettled and unsure what might happen next. It may be a bit vague for some viewers, but others will love it.
Jess (George) is clearly having a bad morning when she joins her friend Greg (Dorman) for a day trip on his gorgeous sailboat with his friends Sally and Downey (Carpani and Nixon), their friend Heather (Lung) and Greg's shipmate Victor (Hemsworth). After a sudden freak storm, they are rescued by an ocean liner that seems to be utterly empty. Except that they start dying one by one.
Sort of. And Jess is the only one who has an inkling that she may be able to stop the cycle of violence.
Smith effectively establishes the characters in the opening sequence with just enough detail to fill in their personalities so we can pick and choose who to identify with. From the start, Jess is the emotional eye of the storm, as she obsesses about her son (Joshua Taylor) back home and travels to some very dark places as the story progresses. Except that it doesn't so much progress as swirl and undulate. Deducing exactly what's happening here probably isn't possible, so it's best to just sit back and let the film take you for a ride.
And trips into the Bermuda Triangle don't get much more gruesomely entertaining than this. Despite its repetitive structure, the film is packed with moments that make us jump, usually because Smith has carefully orchestrated a shock that feels even more powerful because we know it's coming. And the psychological aspect of the premise gives us plenty to grapple with as well, while providing George with another frazzled scream-queen role.
Like a hellish version of Groundhog Day, the film's structure feels like a scratched record, skipping around in circles as it torments poor Jess with unthinkable horror that doesn't always make logical or emotional sense. Some scenes are seriously savage in their brutality, and the cumulative freak-out is both grim and unnerving. Even if Smith's loose approach doesn't answer every dangling question, it still gets to us. Which is something rare in horror movies at the moment.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 16th October 2009
Distributed by: Icon Entertainment International
Production compaines: Triangle Film Corporation, UK Film Council, Icon Entertainment International, Framestore, Pacific Film and Television Commission, Dan Films, Pictures in Paradise
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 31 Rotten: 7
Cast & Crew