While I tend to gravitate towards the gory side of the horror spectrum, I really do appreciate all types of films the genre has to offer. One part of the broad range that horror fans tend to forget about often is the “thriller.” If done right, thriller flicks can be quite entertaining. This can definitely be said about David Koepp’s The Trigger Effect.
A solar storm has caused a massive blackout across what seems like the entire country. As the days roll by, tensions continue to rise amongst strangers and neighbors alike. Everyone must do what they deem necessary to stay safe in what has quickly become a hostile environment.
A lot of the lower budget films that I am used to watching often rely on gory special effects or big haunting scares to get their audience through until the end. What happens when you take all of that away and you have to rely solely on storytelling?
The Trigger Effect is a great example of a film that has incredible character development and an entertaining coherent plot. You don’t often hear of many films from the 90’s, as it seems to be a decade most genre fans want to forget about completely. I am glad, however, that I was able to finally catch this one, as it is really well done.
Co-writer and director, David Koepp, who would go on to direct films like Stir of Echoes and Secret Window later in his career, managed to make a tense thriller from start to finish.
The entire cast, including Elisabeth Shue (Hollow Man, Piranha 3D), Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”), and Dermot Mulroney (Insidious: Chapter 3) all do an amazing job, keeping things moving along smoothly in this 94 minute film. I loved seeing MacLachlan as a character different from his David Lynch-created Special Agent Dale Cooper.
It was interesting to see the transformation that his character, Matt, had to go through; In just a matter of days, the soft-spoken, non-confrontational husband turned into a shotgun-wielding man on a mission.
In addition to the very talented performers I’ve already named, genre fans will be happy to see another familiar face in one Michael Rooker. The Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer star manages to add a whole new level of tension to this already uneasy situation.
The Trigger Effect rings true more so now than it did upon its original 1996 release. What would happen in your neighborhood if there was no power for over three days? You are cut off from all of your social media, internet, etc. How stir crazy would you go?
The characters in Koepp’s now 23 year old film didn’t even have these luxuries and it still only took a mere 24 hours for looting and other forms of violence to break out.
The Trigger Effect is a fun and effective thriller that sees its characters questioning their own morals. It has an awesome cast, a great script, and a pretty happy ending, which is kind of rare for diehard horror fans.
If you want to take a break from the blood and gore, five this one a shot. The Trigger Effect is available now on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment. It is paired with the film Body Count in a great “dramatic thriller double feature” two-film set.
I give this one a final rating of 4 trigger-happy neighbors out of 5.