Friday, May 11, 2012

Film Friday: Triangle (2009)

This film is brilliant. It’s tense, it’s incredibly well-written and well-directed, and it’s thought provoking. Unfortunately, non-spaceship science fiction films have a hard time finding audiences. Plus, the whole Bermuda Triangle angle has been saturated by a bevy of lousy films. But this one deserves to be noticed and you should see it.

Triangle is a science fiction, suspense movie about a group of people who find themselves on an abandoned cruise ship, the Aeolus, when their sailboat overturns during a freak storm. Once onboard the Aeolus, they quickly come under attack from an unknown enemy, a crewman who is wearing a bag over his head. Up that point, this is a fairly straight forward Bermuda Triangle film. But then the film takes an incredible turn into the unexpected as each of the survivors is killed except a young mother named Jess. Jess manages to kill the attacker just in time to see the survivors board the Aeolus again. . . including herself. Soon, events repeat from an entirely different perspective.

Why This Is A Brilliant Film

This film is brilliant on so many levels. For one thing, the twist of finding Jess repeating events rather than simply finding a creepy ghost ship presents something not seen before in Bermuda Triangle films. Ditto on her observing the loop as an outside witness rather than just being aware she is personally repeating events. The ending is also genius. And even more importantly, this film never cheats.

When I finished watching this film the first time, the ending blew me away. It was like The Sixth Sense in the way it fundamentally changed the nature of the story and I immediately started the film over again just to see if the director had included any clues, because I never saw the ending coming. Imagine my surprise to find that not only is all the evidence there, but the film keeps pounding you in the face with the clues. . . yet you never see them!

** MAJOR spoiler alert, I am about to discuss everything **

Before I can continue, I have to lay out the ending and the twists. When the survivors first board the Aeolus, they are attacked by what appears to be a rogue crewman, a man wearing workman’s clothes and a sack over his head. Jess eventually kills him by pushing him over the side of the ship. That’s when events begin repeating. As they do, Jess first tries to help the other survivors, but then decides she must kill them so she can complete the loop and return home to save her son. That’s when you learn that she was in fact the mysterious crewman all along. She is eventually killed the same way she killed her other self before, and she wakes up on the shore. Once there, she rushes home to her son expecting a happy ending. Only she sees another version of herself with her son. She kills this other self and claims her son, but the trauma of seeing his mother killed by his mother upsets the boy and they fight. This causes an accident, which kills her son. That’s when she realizes that the only way to save her son is to go to the marina and start the loop over. Essentially, she voluntarily re-enters the loop with the intent of killing her friends so she can return and save her son. Wow!

But does the beginning of the movie hold up to these new facts? Actually, it does. When Jess first shows up, she seems stunned, hesitant and upset. We are told something is wrong with her and that her story about her son being at school is lie. But we quickly dismiss this because we’re told she has an autistic son who could well be in school on Saturday and her being stunned could be the result of a fight with her son and with the cold reception she gets from her new boyfriend’s (Greg) friends.

Interestingly, the opening is crawling with double meanings. For example, she’s asked several times if she feels “guilty” about her son. Without knowing the ending, this sounds like her guilt is about leaving him at home while she’s having fun. Knowing the ending, this is a much more pointed comment. She’s also asked how her son is and she responds: “The same, every day is the same, if I do one thing differently, I lose him.” Again, this could be a mother struggling with an autistic child, but it’s also a clear description of the plot as it points to both the time loop and her need to complete the loop to save him.

Once they board the Aeolus, the clues become much more blatant. Jess says several times that she feels like she’s been on this ship before. Further, you learn that Aeolus was the father of Sisyphus, who cheated death and was cursed by the gods to push a boulder up a hill every day, only to have it roll back down, just as Jess is repeating events every day. There’s even a record player which keeps repeating the same few notes over and over (caused by Jess). These are major clues. Not to mention they find her keys, an impossibility, her watch alone is set to ship time, and the other survivors immediately begin swearing that Jess told them things we never saw her do, suggesting a double. The other characters also tell her several times that “this is all just in your mind” and they suggest that she’s in “her own world” at the moment and not reality.

There’s also one more major give away. We assume the crewman who is trying to kill them is a man because it looks like a man in the work clothes and with the bag over his head. But it turns out to be Jess. And when we learn this, we notice something incongruous about the crewman image: her shoes. Indeed, it’s blatantly obvious from her shoes at that point that this is Jess, and one of the characters even identifies her that way. But the viewer never notices this key clue until after the crewman is revealed to be Jess. So did the director cheat and not show us her feet before? Actually, no. They are clearly visible three times before you know this is Jess, but the director uses the action to pull your eyes toward other parts of the screen at those moments and you never notice. Once you know to look for them, it’s obvious, but until then, this major clue really is hidden in plain sight. Amazing.

Moreover, once events begin repeating and we watch Jess watching the loops, only certain portions of the original dialog get repeated -- the biggest clues as to what is going on. So you are constantly hit with these clues throughout.

All of this dangles before our eyes. We know something traumatic happened to Jess before she boarded the sailboat and it relates to her son, that she feels guilty about it, that she is doomed to repeat this day like a mythical figure who tried to cheat death, that she believes she must kill everyone to “save” her son (who we didn’t know needed saving), that she’s done this hundreds of times already, and that she is the attacker. She even tells us this is about her son, “if I do one thing differently, I lose him” and “I have to get back to save him.” And these things get repeated over and over. Essentially, the writer shows us his cards and dares us to solve the riddle. Yet we never notice any of this because the writer gives us other possible explanations which we accept because they are less fantastic, e.g. her behavior being the result of her autistic son. That’s great writing.

Finally, I want to comment on the ending, which is truly brilliant. One problem with time loop stories is that it’s usually easy to break the loop, so there’s often an unwritten rule in these films that everyone will agree to ignore that possibility. Here, you don’t need to. Early on, when she wants to break the loop, but her every attempt is frustrated by a later version of her. This tells us that the option of breaking the loop just isn’t available to her because the other hers will make it happen.

Then she decides she must complete the loop when she pieces together why all the other versions of her want to kill the other survivors. They are doing this because it’s the only way to get home and save her son. This means she actively wants to complete the loop, just as she wants to restart the loop after her son is killed. This is a fascinating twist that the looped character actually wants to complete the loop, and this eliminates the usual questions of why the loop character isn’t smarter.

The one complaint I have with the film is that her knowledge of her son’s death seems to leave her after she gets some sleep on the sailing boat. It’s possible she suddenly thinks this whole thing is a dream, or it’s possible the loop works that way and she needs to re-learn events once she’s in it. Either way I’m not sure and that’s one area where this film could have been stronger -- if she had simply bought into the need to finish the loop at all times. But in any event, this is truly thought-provoking, creepy, and exciting film. I highly recommend this one.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent review Andrew!

I saw this one last weekend although I haven't seen it again (I intend to).

Not much to add other than a few things.
I thought the self she killed and knocked into the ocean wasn't actually dead and managed to drift ashore, but it wasn't clear on that point and just an assumption I made.

Also, I thought the film was full of symbolic images.
Seeing her self (selves) in the fractured mirror.
At that point I wondered if her mind was also fractured.

The seagulls that seem to take the place of the raven in this story as portenders of death (or a sign she was still in the loop or damned to repeat it?).

I didn't catch how important the name of the ship was (good eye! You would've made a good detective!).
I also missed some of the clues such as her shoes.

Very thought provoking. I was left with the feeling that she might possibly get out of the loop again and save her son, but with all her other selves screwing things up (or maybe it's her screwing things up?) it's difficult to say how.

In a way the film could be a cross between Groundhog Day (hope in getting it right) and Final Destination (you can't cheat death, even though it's her son's death in this case that she's trying to prevent).

One more thing, did you find the cab driver that gave her a ride from the accident to the docks to meet her friend odd or acting strangely?

tryanmax said...

USS Ben, there definitely is something odd about the cab driver, as though he is aware that he is closing the loop. He and Jess only have two exchanges. In the last exchange with Jess, he asks if she will come back. Jess says yes and he asks her, "You promise?" This could be taken as a promise to return with his fare and could have been placed at the beginning of the movie. (One wonders if it may have been in an earlier edit.) But in their first exchange, he says in observation of her dead son that there is no point in trying to save the boy.

Totally awesome film, more thoughts to come...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Andrew. I know you even warned us in advance but I didn't get to see the film. It sounds fascinating and I'm always a sucker for a good time-loop story. I'm glad to hear it isn't a simple ghost story - it's been done to death (pardon the expression).

I'm also a fan of stories which allow the character to revisit events from a different POV. (Back to the Future II being a great example.) I can appreciate how difficult it is for filmmakers to get everything right... then have to get everything right again!

I'll try to catch this the next time it's on.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Thanks! :) I forgot to mention the mirror. Not only the fractured one, but when they walk into one of the rooms, you see an infinite number of her reflected in the mirrors, but not the guy standing next to her because he instantly steps out of the right angle. That's another clue.

Yeah, the ship name if the HUGE give away. Interestingly, the name of the sailboat also has double meaning. It's called Triangle which reflects the Bermuda Triangle as well as the non-love triangle of the characters as well as the situation she finds herself in where each choice just takes her to another corner.

The shoes became really obvious to me after we found out she was the worker. They really just stand out. And then Greg notices them to tell us we should be noticing them. So I figured the director had hidden them the first time through, but he didn't -- he just distracts but they are there and they are obvious (look in the first fight scene with Jess and when the worker gets shoved over the rail... you'll see them clearly each time) -- watch for them when you see it again.

In fact, the director foreshadows everything repeatedly, like the pendant which is shown at least 3 times before she loses it. There are touches like that throughout.

I agree about the cab driver. I suspect he's more than just a cab driver, but I can't say for sure. Especially since he delivers two strange lines to her -- about saving her son and "you will come back, you promise?" I got the feeling he's the "god" who has inflicted the punishment, though she has ultimately brought this on herself as she does the killing and because she could quit at any time... she just won't. I wonder, however, when the loop begins? Is the son killed to start everything or finish everything? I would say to start the loop.

I know there is symbolism in the sea gulls, but I wasn't able to figure that out. Any thoughts?

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, This one deserves to be seen.

BTW, speaking of simple ghost stories, it's unfortunate that this was billed as a horror film because it's not. There is some violence and it's creepy, but this is totally a suspenseful time loop story with a couple shocking moments. I won't spoil those.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The cabbie has an other-worldly feel to him. He tells her that there is no way to save the boy, which puts the idea into her head. That is basically letting her damn herself rather than forcing this upon her -- a very cool twist. Then he gives her the strange promise line, which could just be the meter except that doesn't make sense. I think he's the "god" (or death) who has inflicted the loop upon her.

It's an interesting question, by the way, when the loop actually begins. I think that might be the riddle to what troubled me. I suspect the loop starts when she falls asleep on the Triangle, which would explain her change of heart/memory. OR the loop begins with her killing her son. OR it has no beginning and it's just a huge circle that will continue forever until she learns that she can't save her son.

There's a real moral lesson in this film too because she is being massively punished for killing her son and for willingly sacrificing people she barely knows to save her son and until she stops, she is doomed to repeat this forever. There is also a suggestion she's insane and this is all just in her head.

One moment which fascinates me is when Greg says he never intended to hit on her when he came into the dinner, except that day, and she shoots him this horrified look. I'm not sure what that means yet?

On the morality, by the way, I have been debating the other characters. If this is a morality tale of sorts, then presumably the other characters have done something to justify being sucked into this, right? I know what the husband and wife did -- they assume Greg is gay (notice the name of the boat again: Triangle) and try to meddle in his love life despite his wishes. Their girlfriend has done nothing wrong so she never makes it to the ship. The young guy is apparently a criminal, that's why he's there. But I can't solve what Greg might have done? He seems quite blameless all around.

DUQ said...

I admit I did not watch this despite your warning. I now wish I had. This sounds like a cool movie and I wish I had more to discuss.

Doc Whoa said...

Andrew, Excellent review and thank you for pointing me to this film! I was going to ignore it because it looked like a dozen other Bermuda Triangle films, but this definitely is not.

One thing which fascinated me was how the future hers put the idea in her head. The first workman version of her says she has to kill them all to save her son. Then she finds the handwritten notes and she realizes it's her own handwriting, so she decides this must mean the others all thought they had to do this. So basically, the other hers give her the idea.

Doc Whoa said...

Also, it's fascinating to me that the other hers seem a lot less sane, like the one who stabs the married couple. It's like the one we are following is the only sane one, like something has gone differently in her loop.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, You were warned! ;) Check it out and share your thoughts afterwards.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, I'm glad you watched it. This one is worth it, even though it doesn't look like anything special from the outside.

I've wondered that myself. I estimate there are at least 5 of her on the boat at any one time and when I first watched it, I wondered if the one we are watching isn't "special" because she's the first to become conscious of her surroundings. But that doesn't hold up. She goes through a cycle:

1. When she comes on board, she does not know.
2. When she learns of the loop, she tries to save them.
3. As she learns why the other hers want to kill them, she tries to save them in a different way.
4. Then she comes to believe this is inevitable.
5. Finally, she believes she must do this.

The different hers she meets are just in different parts of the cycle.

What I can't figure out is why she doesn't know when she boards the ship, unless the loop starts over after she sleeps and she now decides the whole thing is just a bad dream? I'm not sure on that part, which is why I say it would be better if she had been aware throughout.

Doc Whoa said...

Andrew, That is a good point. It's just kind of funny how different she seems at that one point. Though I agree that is her very near the end, when she's most insane.

I wonder now if she was actually trying to kill her former self and just failed or if she just knew she had to try to kill herself to upset the younger her and make her realize she needed to do this to save her son?

tryanmax said...

Andrew, while I haven't quite got it figured out, I think the answer to your question about why she forgets has something to do with the fact that, when she sleeps, she dreams about the crabs on the beach where she wakes up again later.

tryanmax said...

Wait a minute! There is your answer. When she wakes up from the dream, she tells the other girl that it was a nightmare, but when the girl asks what it was, she says she can't remember. I think that is honest. For some reason, the dream wipes out her memory. If we can accept a time-loop, I think we can also accept that.

Doc Whoa said...

tryanmax, That makes a lot of sense to me, especially since she does dream about the crabs.

Doc Whoa said...

tryanmax, Why do you think she decides to start killing everyone then? Does she start to realize that it's not a dream that her son is dead?

AndrewPrice said...

Guys, Sorry I haven't been around -- work is keeping me busy today. Grrr.

Doc, That is another good question. She seems to have decided at that point that everyone must die. So I would say that she's quite serious about killer the prior version of herself, but it just doesn't work.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think the dreams are key. She sleeps twice and both times she wakes up, she seems to be in a haze and doesn't remember what is happening to her. I'm not sure I fully understand why that is, but it seems to be the case. And then she slowly regains her memory as she starts to see other versions of herself.

You said earlier you had more thoughts? Do tell. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, I think she decides to kill everyone when she realizes that the later versions of her have all done it. The key again is "if I do anything differently, I lose him." Once she realizes this is an infinite loop when she sees the pendants, she starts to begin to decide to kill them all. I think that thought is finalized when she finds all the notes and sees that it is her handwriting.

Ironically, this means all the versions of her are just following the lead of the first one (or not actually) and they have no real clue why they are doing it except they trust that they had a reason the first time. Interesting.

DUQ said...

You guys are really making me wish I'd seen this. :(

I am looking for it right now.

AndrewPrice said...

I think you'll life it DUQ. It's a neat film.

tryanmax said...

Pretty busy myself, today, so I'll have to keep you hanging

AndrewPrice said...

No problem. Fridays shouldn't be this busy, but this one is. :/

ellenB said...

I'm not a big fan of horror and the poster makes this look like horror. You say it's not horror thought?

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, It's too bad they packaged this as a horror film because it's really not. It's spooky and there is some violence, but it's not a horror film -- and it's certainly not a slasher film, which the poster kind of implies. It's really a scary sci-fi/suspense film.

Unknown said...

Glad you did this review. There have been so many really bad films about the Bermuda Triangle, that I would have assumed this was just another. Now I'll watch this one, where normally if the word "triangle" appears in the title, I ignore it.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I almost didn't watch it for the same reason. I assumed it was just another low-grade slasher film about the Bermuda Triangle. But it turned out to be quite gripping and really thought provoking. I definitely recommend it.

CrispyRice said...

Not reading. Not reading. Not reading. Not reading...

We'll check for the movie, but I'll skip the spoilers.

AndrewPrice said...

That's why the spoiler warnings are there! :) I hope you like it Crispy!

K said...

I did a quick scan of the responses and didn't see this one - if it's been covered just ignore.

When she gets back home and sees herself taking care of her son, why doesn't she just leave well enough alone and go start another life? If she wanted interaction with her son, tell her other self that she's a long lost twin separated at birth.

AndrewPrice said...

K, At that point, she's already killed at least five people and tried to kill her other selves. So I don't think it would have troubled her in the least to kill another copy of herself so she could get her son. Especially as she probably sees that as just cleaning up the mess.

Plus, the other version of her was quite nasty and I doubt she was interested in trying to talk to someone like that. In fact, she kills her quite brutally, which suggests strong emotion. (As an aside, that was a well done scene and it was one of the more believable killings I've seen on film.)

I also wonder if the nastiness of the other self tells us something about what may have really happened? I wonder if she actually killed her son and this is her penance (mental/fantasy or divine-inflicted)?

ScyFyterry said...

Ben, That is an excellent insight, with the mirror fracturing and her mind fracturing. I think there are a lot of clues which tell us this might all be in her mind.

ScyFyterry said...

Andrew, Excellent review. This movie had a lot going for it, much more than I expected just from the trailor. They really botched the marketing.

I think you raise an interetings point about what she knows and when. I think she gets confused when she dreamed and it takes her a while to get her barings again.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Terry! Her mind must blank out because she doesn't seem to remember the loop when they first get on the cruise ship, and then when she does, she doesn't initially remember that she wants to kill everyone so she can get back to her son. So we know her memory fails and then comes back bit by bit.

I agree about the marketing. Even the post looks like a typical slasher flick. That's too bad.

tryanmax said...

Okay, I'm done! First, I didn't want to share this LINK until a conversation was started because it is an interview with Christopher Smith which does help shed some light on a few things. Gladly, he still leaves a lot open to discussion, so I think this actually serves as a prompt than an ender.

For my part, the allusion to Rime of the Ancient Mariner is particularly illuminating. I'm not very familiar with that work, but what I do know is that the Mariner's troubles begin when he kills an albatross. That makes me think that the loop actually begins when Jess hits the bird. For all the drastic events that take place, it almost makes a sort of twisted sense that something seemingly insignificant would be the cause of it all. (FYI, there is reason to think that the birds in the film are actually albatross as they are seen feeding on carrion several times, a behavior more common to albatross than to gulls. Also, albatross tend further out to see than gulls do, further fitting the film.)

As most probably know, the Mariner in the tale is punished by his crewmates for killing the bird by being made to wear it around his neck. Around Jess's neck is a pendant with a picture of her son, whom she has killed. Is it possible that Andrew's theory is correct, that in the initial timeline, Jess killed her son rather than her doppelganger? Perhaps ringing the doorbell wasn't just to buy time to grab a hammer from the shed. Perhaps it was to prevent something that Jess knew was coming next. We saw how she lost her temper when the paint was spilled. Perhaps the stain on her dress initially set her off even worse. Of course, there is still the matter that the paint would have never spilled if her son hadn't been surprised by the double outside the window...

There really is no definitive place to mark the beginning of the loop. This is an excellent twist. Rather than simply wondering what must change to break the loop, one also comes to question what happened differently the first time to begin the loop.

One other thought: Andrew, you said you figured that there are as many as five Jesses on board at any time. I think the title, the recurring themes, and clues all point to--and the interview seems to confirm--there being three Jesses at any given time, and that there are actually multiple loops. So not every Jess has the same experience. Rather, each has one of three possible experiences. We know that the Jess the film follows ended up shooting everyone, but another Jess ends up stabbing some people. I like this idea because it suggests that the loop has been going longer than even the accumulated evidence suggests.

What happens when the loop reaches a point where there is no room for more dead Sallys?

tryanmax said...

I think THIS is a much better poster for this film.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That is a much better poster -- it makes a LOT more sense.

I'll comment on your thoughts in a moment. I think we're on to something! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Excellent additions tryanmax!

I honestly missed the Rime of the A.M. connection, but it's absolutely there. The Mariner's crew doesn't go after him until the ship is beset by a dead calm -- just as happens in this film when everything goes completely calm before the storm suddenly appears.

On the doorbell... that is an excellent insight. I figured she was ringing it so the other Jess wouldn't see her get the hammer, but nothing in this story is what it seems -- everything has a secret hidden meaning. All of her actions up to that point involved her trying to manipulate the loop. Maybe she knows "real Jess" is going to kill her son and she pushes the doorbell to stop that. So she rings the bell to stop her (right as the woman stains her dress and starts freaking out and would have struck and killed the boy). Then she gets the hammer and kills her -- something she would have no qualms about doing if she thought this woman was about to kill her son. Only, this time she blows it in the get away.

I very much am leaning toward the idea she struck and killed her son to start the loop.

On not knowing when the loop starts, I agree that's a brilliant twist. It could start at any one of several places -- and in films like this you never see that, you always know exactly where the loop starts because you see it start to finish... here we came in in the middle, even though it seemed like the beginning. And if we can't say where the loop started, then it becomes much hard to know what has really happened.

On the nature of the loop(s), I'm convinced the loop isn't repeating perfectly. I think that's why she's trapped in it, because it offers just enough variation that she believes she can change events. My evidence for this is that the Sally's are piled up in slightly different places, the crumpled notes are spread around the room as well, the stabbings v. shootings, one locket was on the grill while the others were in the drain, and I believe the first "workman" died wearing a locket, meaning they didn't all lose them. I think she's trapped in a loop where the same substance happens, but the specifics can be moved a bit left or right and that is what keeps her trying because it gives her the illusion of being able to change things.

There are certainly three Jess's (future, past and present), and we never get an official count, but I speculated five just based on the length of time it takes for each period of her life on the ship -- it struck me there must be two future Jess's, but that's just a guess. If the director says three, then I can believe that.

Good question what happens when there are too many Sally's? Where are all the others? The ship seems to clean up what happens on the inside for each loop, but not the outside.

All in all, this is a brilliant movie. :)

ScyFyterry said...

The idea that she started this by killing her son makes a ton of sense, especially if as tryanmax says, she rang the doorbell to distract herself from killing him the first time. Not only would that justify putting her in the loop, but she keeps having to relive what she's done and kill him each time.

BTW, I think the cab driver who is "Death". Notice how the color and sound changes when he picks her up and then she sleeps in the cab. It's like she died in the crash and he's taking her soul to her own private Hell. In fact, she suffers no injuries even though her son is crushed and the car is damaged enough to tear open the trunk and eject the body from the bag in the trunk. UNLESS, the body never left the bag and that's really her lying there? Huh!

T-Rav said...

I had a busy day too. :-(

I didn't look this up beforehand, but I'm proud of myself. I managed to figure out what the twist was before I got to your spoiler alert message, so yay me!

One thing I wasn't clear on, is this loop ever broken? Do we get the idea she's condemned to live this out forever?

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, It does make sense. And if it's true, then it's fascinating that we can see this in the film despite the fact it never tells us any of this. This really is a smart film which expects you to do a lot of your own math. I'm really glad I decided to give it a shot.

There is something really strange about the cab driver and I could totally see him as Death or God/Satan or something along those lines handing out divine retribution.

As for whose body it is, I'll have to look again because I thought we saw the open bag, but it's possible we didn't. In any event, it's fascinating that she suffered no injuries -- not even a bruise, isn't it? Especially since the wreck was so total otherwise.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's a good question. We are left with the idea that she is convinced she can break the loop. Plus, there is a lot of evidence that the loop isn't perfect and can be changed to some degree. So it might be possible to solve it. And in any event, she could actually end the loop at any time if she just quits. But we also know she won't quit until she solves it.

So what you have is a truly classical punishment where she creates her own prison here and where she can let herself out at any time... except she just won't because she's unwilling to admit what she did and just pay the price. It's a fascinating idea.

(Sorry to hear you had a busy day... must have been contagious!)

tryanmax said...

Terry, I didn't notice that the color and sound change for the driver, but that is another pointer that he is a somehow different character.

I am leaning more and more to the idea that she killed her son in the initial timeline, but I'll have to watch a few more times to gather the evidence that illustrates how that might have been.

Another thing that occurs to me is that Jess doesn't kill her earlier self to protect her son. By that point, she's obviously prevented that, if it ever happened. Instead, she kills her double so that she can be reunited with her son. It isn't enough for Jess that she has set things right. She can't just walk away. She feels it is her right to replace her earlier self.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I've often heard of Hell as being a place where people get punishments tailored to their sins. That's kind of what this is. If she killed her son and now thinks she can save him by killing the others, then she has put herself into her own special Hell where she will keep trying forever to escape what she's done, suffering the whole time, and she will never realize that the only escape is to admit her own fault and face reality.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I noticed what Terry notice too, that everything is a little odd with the driver -- the colors are deeper and the sound is more "stage-like" rather than how it was on the street a moment before. It's like they are set apart from the accident and the others who are approaching.

I'm leaning heavily to the idea as well that she killed him in the initial loop. And I agree that she didn't kill "the mother" to protect the son, she did it to get her out of the way and take her "rightful" place with her son.

ACTUALLY... hmm, now that I think about it, that explains why she would try to kill the other her on the ship before she gets knocked overboard. She wants to kill off all the imposters in the loop and she doesn't want this later version of her following her to her son. That would explain why she felt she had to try to kill her as well. Interesting.

As an aside on the mother, I also suspect based on the brutality of the killing, that she's truly enraged by the mother, who she blames for starting these events. (Just like I think she become enraged by Greg when he admits that he intentionally went to the diner to invite her -- that look on her face means something and I think it's shock or anger that this is somehow his fault).

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That interview is fascinating. He calls if "Groundhog Day purgatory," and he suggests that she's a bad mother and that the kid is not actually autistic -- all of which fits the idea that she killed him.

And it does sound like there are three separate loops for her.

And then he says this....

If I say it’s a purgatory film, about a mother who dies in a crash, the taxi driver is the ferryman taking her to the afterlife, but she leaves him, tells him a lie, and as a result she gets cast into purgatory. That works in the film. However that relies on you believing in an afterlife. So the other idea is that a mother gets sick of her child and just goes out sailing for the day, leaving him the outside the school or whatever, and the guilt of what she’s done haunts her, until she eventually is looking back in on herself, philosophically, going ‘Am I a bad mum? What can I do to change that?’ We could go on and on, and they all work. I like a little bit of all of them, but I think the way I laid out the Sisyphus story [the looping purgatory of a never-ending task] gives it, at least on one level, the M. Night Shyamalan model, but I’ve left it deliberately blurry round the edges, so that a number of things work.

To me it’s a story about the return of memory as well. If she has amnesia, but she’s gradually remembering. What’s happening on the boat is she’s realising all the time that it’s her who’s the bad one, and at the end she sees it. She gets the chance to look outside herself and see herself from another’s viewpoint. If we could do that, would we go, ‘Wow, I’m a great guy!’, or would we go, ‘I’m a real asshole.’ So there’s a lot of that going on in the film as well.

tryanmax said...

An interview like that is rare, too. Lots of times, directors act reluctant to discuss their films, like they think their work is so esoteric it can't be understood even when explained. I like that he fully admits that he left it open to several interpretations because that's part of the fun.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It's a fascinating interview because you rarely see directors want to tell you what they were thinking unless it's something banal. The guys who direct action flicks love to tell you all about the "depth" they put into the film... yeah, right. But the guys who make deeper films almost never do.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Wow, great discussion! Between everyone it looks like we covered a good deal of ground (and sea) on this film.
Good insights you guys (and by "guys" I include you gals as always).

And much of it the director himself mentioned in that interview (thanks for the link Tryanmax).

Fascinating interview. I am somewhat puzzled as to why he mentions the Rime of the A.M. story yet he keeps using seagulls instead of abatross.

They do look similar in appearance and perhaps he simnply mistated the bird (but not the A.M. story itself since it pertains) or perhaps he used seagulls on purpose since there is this quote to consider (looked it up):
"In general, the seagull represents personal freedom, an ideal every character wants but cannot have, due to life circumstances or the actions of other characters. "The Seagull," by Anton Chekov.

There's also something in celtic myth's that mention the importance of seagulls in phrophecy (self-fulfilling phrophecy in this case. Or rather selves fulfilling prophesy, lol.

Or maybe I'm just a bitter seagull clinger for not thinking of the albatross story first, so there!

ScyFyTerry, thanks. I found it interesting that the director mentioned this in the interview (but not the broken mirror):

"I was actually told though by a psychologist, that without studying it I’d organically made a movie about psychosis. It begins with feelings of anxiety – am I being watched? – to eventually being the person that’s watching you. I didn’t realise! It’s kind of got this weird sort of paranoid schizophrenic vibe to the film."

It is cool that the director gave a lot of revealing thoughts about the film and I find that refreshing.
He also does it without pigeonholing only certain thoughts about the film as Andrew's excerpt shows.
The film works on so many interpretations and levels but obviously not simply any.
Tough line to walk in an interview.

I hope he decides to make more smartly written and directed films.
In the meantime, I gotta see this one again, soon.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, "A bitter seagull clinger" -- LOL! Bravo!

It definitely can be viewed as a psychosis story too. What if nothing she's seeing is real? What if she's just imaging the doubles as her way to excuse her own blame for what she's done? Think about it -- even when she shoves Victor into the hook on the wall and she knows she's just killed him, she says, "I didn't do that. . . that wasn't me."

Maybe she killed her son and killed these people and the rest is just her imagination trying to pass off the blame to some "other her" which only she can see?

I hope he does more films as well.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Andrew: Thank you very much.

BTW, I saw Severance a few days ago. Smith made that one before Triangle.
Pretty good film but not nearly as deep as Triangle or Black Death (which, while an excellent film, it's downright depressing but it was the dark ages).

Lots of humor mixed in with the killings and not your standard slasher film. Worth a watch.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Thanks for the heads up! I've definitely determined to track down his other films. This one really impressed me and I want to see what else he's achieved! :)

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - thanks for your review. I did stop at the spoiler alerts because I was unable to view the film before reading. Sounds like it will be a, if not an overlooked gem, at the very least a great ride. My FAVORITE kind of film is the one where I don't see the ending coming a mile away :)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think you'll enjoy it. And when you get the chance, come back and read the article and the comments, I think there's a lot of fascinating discussion going on. :)

Witchfinder68 said...

Did anybody catch the room 237 Shining reference?

AndrewPrice said...

Witchfinder, I did notice that! Apparently, there were several references to The Shining around the ship. This was a well-thought-out movie with a lot packed into it.

Witchfinder68 said...

It's a fascinating film. I have only watched it once but I will have to give it a couple of viewings.

Any idea what the other Shining references are?

AndrewPrice said...

It's worth watching several times.

According to the IMDB:

The film makes many oblique references to The Shining. The number 237 crops up, which was the same number of the spooky hotel room Danny was forbidden to go into; there are also words written on a mirror, a ballroom and an axe.

Witchfinder68 said...

I also considering the use of very long hallways to be an homage to The Shining.

I am somewhat puzzled by something though. It's clear that not the same thing happens every time because we see Sally die in the Theater and then another Sally dies by stabbing. Also, we see hooded Jess get beaten to death and then thrown overboard and another two of the hooded Jess being hit with the axe and going overboard. We also see a hooded Jess get shot in the head but others don't. Also, at the end of the film Jess seems to possess all of her faculties but asks Victor if she knows her. I am assuming that Jess has some kind of free will and does not merely repeat the same actions over and over again but when does she forget everything? Is it when she falls asleep on the yacht or is it when she falls asleep in the cab?

AndrewPrice said...

I had the same thought about the color-scheme on the ocean liner. It struck me as very similar to the hallways and ball room in the Overlook.

We talked a bit about her memory loss above. It seems that every time she falls asleep, she loses her memory, though that's not clear. It is the one truly puzzling aspect of the film and it's something I wish they had explained better. Right now, I just go with the theory that when she wakes up, she thinks everything before was just a nightmare until the events start to jog her memory.

Witchfinder68 said...

Sounds about right. Upon another viewing, I think she loses her memory when falling asleep on the yacht. She appears to know what's going on after she gets out of the cab and goes to the docks.

Another puzzling thing for me - shouldn't Jess have 2 sets of keys when they find the one set when first getting on the ship? I'm assuming she does otherwise where do the keys come from to begin with?

Finally, do you think Jess died in the car wreck initially before all this began?

AndrewPrice said...

Witchfinder, I do think she died in the car wreck. Everything about the scene suggests it, from the extreme damage to the cars but her remaining entirely unhurt, to the change in tone of the scene (colors, lighting, sound), to the strange behavior of the cab driver. I think he's death or whatever you want to call him and he's giving her the chance to move on or re-enter the loop and she keeps re-entering the loop trying to save her son's life.

Witchfinder68 said...

Triangle reminds me of the short file 12:01 PM -

I saw it on showtime back in the day and it really stuck with me. It was remade in 1993 and given a happy ending but I never saw that one.

AndrewPrice said...

Witchfinder, I haven't seen that, but it sounds very much like the same idea. I think the big difference though is that he apparently realizes he can't stop the loop, whereas Jess is determined to change events so she can break the loop. All in all, a fascinating film and I'm really glad I watched it!

Witchfinder68 said...

Another thing I picked up when I rewatched the movie, is that after Jess hits the gull and goes to bury it, the marching band is playing "Anchors Away." Ha! Rather appropriate I think.

AndrewPrice said...

Witchfinder, I completely missed that! LOL! As I said above, what a clever and well-done movie.

Tennessee Jed said...

having finally read this, I offer the following link to be considered when analyzing the theme of this film. There are elements that are reminiscent of the director David Lynch (ironic considering this film utilizes the actress Melissa George.) This film reminds me of a film I reviewed earlier, The Man Who Wasn't There. Ethan Coen is fascinated by the absurdist philosophies of Albert Camus. In Coen's movie, there is no upside to the lack of meaning in life, a view initially embraced by Camus. By the time he got around to writing his essay on Sisyphus, I think he allowed there was nobility in the struggle, even if the activity remains ultimately pointless. I believe this is alluded to in his famous essay. BTW Anchors Away is also the song being played on the ship which keeps skipping.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks for the link and the tip Jed! That is a really fascinating connection.

Anonymous said...

A very nice review and explanation to the movie..
One more thing, Jess is died in the car accident for the first time she brings her son to the port. The car accident in the end of the movie, Jess lies on street and her son is dead. Her spirit is watching besides and the cabby or the death brings her to the port. Jess is in fact already dead and the entire film has taken place inside her constructed punishment.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Anon! That's like how it happened, but it's not clear what starts the loop except that her son dies. Everything after that is her punishment. Presumably, she's reliving the day trying to find "an out."

Anonymous said...

Some new/other ideas:
I am trying to think how she could break the loop: what if Jess only killed other Jess's and left all her friends alive? Do you think that would break the loop?
The impression I got at the end of the movie in the car crash scene was that she'd crashed the car, the camera shows her dead, her son dead, and doesn't show the body bag. However the camera shows a version of jess wearing a dress not a singlet and shorts. But then that could be just yet another version of events. So maybe there was a time lapse between the jess we saw actually driving the car, and then the panning across the accident (from the perspective of the jess that is watching with the cab driver). As in this is not the first time she has stood there and watched the carnage.
Also I get what you mean about the change in sound/colour in the cab driver scene/dialogue but I just assumed that was to show jess was an outside viewer watching the car accident, like to separate her present path (her watching) from the jess we saw driving whose present path is being dead on the road.
What do you think?
Any other ideas of how she could break the loop instead of trying to keep completing it?

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, Excellent thoughts. I am not sure if she could avoid killing her friends. For one thing, by the point she realizes she's in a loop, the prior hers have already killed most of them. So the best she could do would be not kill the last couple of them. Also, by that point in the loop, she's killed her son, and her goal is to save her son, so she knows she needs to start the loop all over to save him. That's the trap. She could stop the loop at any point, but that would either leave her with a dead son or with "some other her" having her son -- and I suspect the other her is about to kill the son, which is what I think started the loop in the first place. So I'm not sure she can break the loop, because she needs to save her son and that requires her to get him and then not die in the car accident, but that seem to be inevitable because I think that started the loop, when she died in the car accident, and the loop is her punishment.

About the accident, that's an interesting idea and to a degree I agree. I think the original her died in the car accident and I think each of the later hers dies in the car crash. So I think when you see her observing the wreck, that's a different her already than the one who dies in the crash. In other words, I don't think she survives and just keep going, I think that's her soul starting the loop new. My guess is that at this point, she could just end the loop and accept her fate, except that in her mind, she can't.

Unknown said...

After watching this movie a few times over, there are blaring inconsistencies that are bothering me.

I'm going to identify the different versions of Jess with different names as to avoid confusion. I'm going to call the Jess we follow throughout the movie "Jess Prime" the Jess we see running around in the crewmate suit as mask "Masked Jess" the Jess that appears after Masked Jess is thrown overboard as "New Jess" and the one who gets shot on the dead as "Headshot Jess"

So when Jess Prime initially approaches the crewship while standing on the capsized sail boat she catches a glimpse of Masked Jess who isn't yet dressed in the crewman's outfit. This suggests that the cycle has just been finished, and the previous Jess has been thrown from the ship and the cycle has been renewed.

Jess Prime boards the boat, and at this point in time there should only be Jess Prime, and Masked Jess aboard the ship until one of them completes the cycle. The interview with Christopher Smith does not shed any light on this film, but in fact muddles the story even further. He goes to say

"So on the charts you have to have a Jess, a Jess+1 and Jess-1, because you have the one who’s ahead of you and the one who’s behind you on the loop."

This is wrong, because in order to renew the cycle for the Jess that's behind us in the loop to even appear, the one ahead of us must be thrown from the ship. Otherwise the cycle is not complete, and thus cannot renew.

Along side Headshot Jess's inexplicable presence, she also appears far more violent, and stoic compared to Jess Prime, and New Jess. When she murders her companions she shows no remorse or mercy for them by stabbing and killing them in cold blood. These plot holes are never truly explained.

Jess Prime's memory also seems to remain far more intact than any of the other Jess' we see. For example when she grabs the axe and runs toward the bow of the ship she pauses briefly and glances toward her weapon as if coming to some revelation before spinning completely around and swinging the axe at Masked Jess, suggesting that Jess Prime already knew where Masked Jess would be coming from. Also, unlike the others she isn't fooled by the valve that is thrown down the deck and instead of appearing behind New Jess, preemptively strikes her with the steel crank from around the corner.

Based on the fact that Headshot Jess shows little to no hesitation on killing the others on the ship leads me to believe that she had already survived the loop on board and after crashing the car she knew exactly what had to be done in order to save her child when she boarded again. Though unfortunately for her she ultimately failed in the end.

I believe the solution to breaking the loop is for her to kill both of the Jess's on board, along with all of the others who board with them. If this was to occur the cycle would not be completely properly, and this unique variable may be the key to freeing herself.

I also believe the reason why this particular version of Jess was chosen for us to follow was because she will be the one to succeed in breaking the loop. Out of all the other versions, she proved more intelligent and strayed from the pattern the most. This will benefit her when she returns because it will difficult for the newer Jess to anticipate her actions.

AndrewPrice said...

Alice, Excellent insights and welcome.

Watching the film, it strikes me that there need to be more than three Jesses at any one time. I also believe that there are multiple loops going on simultaneously. I suspect the first loop is "innocent" Jess who is the one we watch. She kills because she realizes she has to. The other involves psycho Jess who seems to be a crazed killer. So I would guess that there are two overlapping loops here. To me, that's the only way to really make sense of all of her actions. But of course, that could be completely wrong. :)

The one bit that I still struggle to understand is how much the Jess we follow knows about the loops. At times she seems to know everything, but at other times, she seems genuinely lost. I suspect that every time she sleeps, something changes, but I'm not 100%.

In any event, it's a fascinating film and I've watched it repeatedly and I have to say that I keep seeing new things in it each time.

Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

And there is another question. Why didn't she paid the taxidriver when he brought her to the harbor ? She knew she was boarding the ship and would not come back in a long time. Why does she let the taxidriver wait ? It make no sense at all. And even when she had no money she could asked the captain of one of the other guests to pay the bill and later pay back.

Anonymous said...

She can stop the loop by killing herself. And I mean suicide.When she kills herself there are no longer three Jess persons. And you need three to continue the loop. And that is what masked Jess tells the other Jess before she fell in to the water ; You have to kill everone. Everyone means literal everyone.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, That's the thing though, she can't stop the loop because she won't. She's obsessed with the idea that she can fix it and avoid her fate, and that's what keeps her going. She could also stop the whole thing by just sitting down and doing nothing, but again, in her mind, that doesn't solve the problem, which is that she needs to get home again to stop herself from killing her son. This is her version of hell... she can't stop the loop because she can't find a way to solve it in the way she needs it to be.

On the taxi driver, I almost get the sense that they both know that something supernatural is going on here and he's just delivering her to the start of the loop. That's why she doesn't care about paying him and why he doesn't seem to worry -- and why he notes that he'll see her again.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you're right. It's her obsession to continue with the loop in the hope she can save her son.
And the taxidriver is indeed an important part of the strange events that happen every time and probably for the rest of eternity.
It's a great movie with a ingenious story that keeps me thinking. My compliments for your excellent perspective on the film and thanks for your reply !

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome. And thanks! Thanks also for commenting!

This is indeed an ingenious movie. I wasn't expecting much when I first watched it and I was just totally blown away. This movie deserves much greater notice than it's gotten.

I agree about the taxi driver, he is definitely an important part of this. I'd love to hear the writer/director give us more thoughts on this.

Koshcat said...

Best movie I've seen in a long time. Thanks for the tip. I had two other thoughts. One is regarding sex. We don't see it but perhaps implied that she frustrated with her son because she wanted sex: pretty dress, in a hurry to see him, etc. I think it was due to her selfish obsession that might have led to the boys death.

In the mythology of Sisyphus he tricks Thanatos or death and traps him. This meant nobody could die. This is mentioned in the film as well but I can't quite put it together. She can't die? But how did she trick death? I mean she is clearly the Sisyphean character.

It is alo Kafkaesque as she only has the illusion of control over her life. Her life is a continuous cycle "with an autistic son" . She tried to break the cycle with sex and is now being punished.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, You're welcome! As I've said a couple times, I was absolutely not expecting this from this movie. I thought it would be a slasher or some weak Bermuda triangle film. Instead, it turned out to be just brilliant. So I'm very happy to let people know about it.

That's a great question about how she tricked death. The short answer is that I don't know. Perhaps she created the loop by simply willing it so she wouldn't die and could then repeat these events to fix them? Maybe death can't take any of them as long as she keeps going? I'd love to hear any ideas anyone wants to add on that point.

It is very Kafkaesque. It's fascinating that she seems to be able to control her destiny at any point... just stop and it all ends. But she's unable to stop because that's the one option she refuses to consider. So she keeps going, trying to find a solution when there isn't one.

That's an interesting point about the sex. She comes across to me as just a really bad, selfish mother. It could well be that she was driven to that by personality flaws and an autistic son, and what finally pushed her over the top was that he's stopped her plans for the evening when he spilled the paint. Maybe that was the moment that was going to change her life. So now she freaks out and takes it out on him and kills him. Then she enters the loop because she's obsessed with proving to herself that she would never do what she did.

John Johnson said...

She kills the seagull. The 'Era of the Seagull' has ended. That era will start again after she left the cab. During that time, say five minutes, the show of the seagull is replaced by an appearance of Charon the Ferryman. And... her. In those five minutes she had a chance to redeem herself. So it seems.

You see, why would she redeem herself and keep her promise to the ferryman after all? If she'd live up to her promise, the electric storm will never come; she won't have another chance to hustle the chain-of-events, which in turn would grant her another chance to save her son.

When she's out in the ocean, it's clear she won't commit to the promise. Zeus lets her forget in her sleep, effectively reseting her mind to a time where she left her son at school. She's now back in the state of mind before the period where she broke her promise. When she was just a stressed out mother who loves her son but also begins to slap him because she's losing it. She is close to a burn out. With odd deja-vu-ish dreams in addition, because only in her mind she's the original mom. We know she's not.

Her true punishment is not the loop only, and experiencing the death of her boy, but especially that she's not allowed to end it. It's not in her best interest to pay the ferryman now...

And finally, it strikes me how many people think she's in limbo. She is not. She is in hell. Just like Sisyphus was rolling the boulder in hell, not limbo, so is the rolling of her boulder, in a hell made for her.

AndrewPrice said...

John, Sorry for the delay in answering, it's been a busy day.

That is a fantastic answer. Very well thought out. Thanks for adding that.

I think of the cab as Charon as well. I think she could break the loop at that point by accepting her fate, but she won't, and he knows that, so he guides her back to the loop to start over. I agree too that she loses her memory when she sleeps.

I love that so many people have thought so much about this film. :)

John Johnson said...

Today I have read the full story of Sisyphus more accurately. It turns out the final straw was when he asked to return to earth to settle a family matter, but didn't come back as promised. Notice how Jess is willfully going back to the sea to settle her family affairs (i.e. saving her son).

Also, when I stretch the story (of the movie that is): the boulder which Sisyphus was to roll up was enchanted by Zeus. Because of the magic the boulder rolled back. I could think of the Bermuda Triangle Electric Storm as a reference to that magic. I still think the Bermuda Triangle is just here to jumpstart the rest of the movie into a next phase, but still, I couldn't help playing with thoughts.

AndrewPrice said...

John, I haven't read the story in twenty years, though I'm familiar with it. That would make sense if Zeus was in the storm as that was a favorite trick of the Greek gods and Zeus was known for lightening bolts, and you do see a lot of that.

On her not returning, the Ferry Man (taxi driver) does ask her if she is coming back. She says she is but she knows she's not, she has other things to handle. So there is an interesting parallel there.

Anonymous said...

i watched this movie yesterday and its a great movie... did someone noticed about the numbers 752 on the taxi's trunk... numbers represent angels... clearly shows he an angel

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I didn't know that about the number 752. Fascinating. This movie is so full of amazing ideas.

Anonymous said...

i noticed it the second time i watched it.... and one more thing the numbers of sally's death body on the top deck represent how many time the loops happened... which i assumed about 30 times already what do think?

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I agree. The number of dead bodies are the number of times she's gone through the loop. As for their number, I'm not sure.

I'll have to watch the taxi more closely next time. Nice catch!

Rog667 said...

Love the movie. Here's my take.

She is looping through the stages of Grief, all at the instance of her possible death.

She denies her son is dead at the beginning (though we don't know this until later). When she remembers her son while on the boat she moves to anger. The taxi driver says the boy is beyond saving, implying she is not. She moves to bargaining by trying to find a way out of the loop that ends differently- with her son alive.

The bulk of time in the movie is spent attempting to save her son, but she cannot. The taxi driver tells her this, but she's in denial at that point. She tries because of her guilt (as was pounded into us by the director). As she gains more perspective from seeing her self, she hates herself. I think this is why she so readily chooses violence (the 'kill them all' approach also confused me at first: why not just confront her other self and boat mates upon arrival? But she sometimes appears to contemplate an interruptive choice other than violence! So there may be hope).

Ultimately we are left without witnessing her transition to the depression/acceptance phases. To do this she must move beyond hating herself, and must forgive. She must accept her son's death and save herself. If she can do this..... well, maybe she'll move out of purgatory in death, or wake up after the car accident- alive.

AndrewPrice said...

Rog, That's an interesting interpretation. I'll have to think about that one. It does seem to fit her behavior. It also does explain why she's never tries anything but violence. I took it she was following her own warning that she needs to kill all the others to stop the cycle.

Rog667 said...

I have only seen it once and will have a 2nd (and 3rd?) viewing soon, so I'm also curious how that interpretation holds, and what else may present itself.

AndrewPrice said...

Rog, I've seen this one a dozen times by now and I keep noticing things. Let me know if you change your interpretation.

Anonymous said...

One Jess we see on the boat knows that her son dies and wants to go back and save him. So why would that Jess go back and drive her son again allowing the loop to recur? And why would the first Jess of the movie not know her son died when the Jess that does must be an earlier loop Jess. This seems inconsistent on a few levels but maybe someone can try to clear it up.

And another inconsistency that just hit me is why aren't there many dead house Jesses in the car trunk just like there are many lockets and many of the dead seagull and woman on the deck of the liner?

I also think the movie may've been better if it turned out Jess had killed her son, and maybe herself, due to anger/frustration and, try though she might, can never undo that.


AndrewPrice said...

Dee, Those are interesting questions without clear answers. She seems to suffer memory blackouts every time she sleeps. I'm not sure what the reason for that is.

In terms of the number of bodies in the trunk, that's not clear either except that the taxi driver seems to be her only way out of the loop. So presumably, the body in the truck in her real body and the her that we see walking around at that point is her soul. The bodies on the ship might just be her failures piling up and are only symbolic. Not sure. Don't have an explanation.

I think she did kill her son out of anger and frustration to begin the whole thing. And somehow she died after that.

Anonymous said...

The cab driver is death

PikeBishop said...

Home with a fever and just caught this on "Chiller." Just a few major swear words bleeped out, but no seemingly glaring edits or revisions.

1. I didn't catch the shoes the first time the "crewman" is killed, but I got that it was a muffled woman's voice. I instantly thought of that mediocre Twilight Zone episode, where the bride on her wedding day is pursued on horseback by a nightmare future version of herself to warn her not marry the wrong guy.
2. Did anyone catch what the marching band was playing? That was a nice touch.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, What did you think overall? As you can tell, this one drew a lot of interest here and continues to draw interest. People are still constantly reading this one and leaving comments of shooting me emails about the film.

PikeBishop said...

To be honest, I'm waiting for the wife to come home from work and we can watch it together. As I said, I am home with some kind of bug (been running 101-102 temps until today) and am kind of in and out of consciousness and clarity. May have dozed or not paid enough attention at various points. Will let you know soon.

BTW, speaking of still drawing interest, "Say Andrew I understand you still have "The Rapture" on your DVR?" :-)

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, Events have been conspiring against me. I DVR'd it. But it was unwatchable -- I thought this was because of weather (we have satellite), but it turned out it was my DVR. I know this because I DVR'd it again a week later. A couple days later, my DVR blew up and had to be replaced. I haven't found it since then.

Anonymous said...

I also think that Jess doesn't want to stop the loop or she is unable to do that because she doesn't want her son to be dead. It would mean that she was a bad mother and that maybe she killed him and in order for the loop to stop she would have to admit her faults and the fact that she lost her son. Instead breaking the loop she leaves the cabdriver, lies to him and goes on a boat again to change the story and save her son. When she says that if she does one thing differently she will lose him it means that she wants to keep repeat everything because she feels like she can keep her son that way if she stopped she would lose him forever. It's a tragic situation, it shows people's flaws and un willingness to change bad traits. I think everyone deals with it in their life. It's like, let's say somebody always meets cheating boyfriends, it shows some character traits that this person is unable to change because she is refusing to admit that the problem exists within her. The minute she realizes the problem, accepts it and change her course of action, she will meet a faithful guy. That is just a stupid example but it's just the way life works. So Jess is doing Sisyphus job because she cannot change her own faults. Basically I just said what you guys said already. It's amazing how much thought I had to give this movie in order to understand it more or less cause I also agree that there are loose ends here leaving open spots for interpretation. And can you imagine that I actually read all those comments, I'm exhausted xD

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I agree! I'm glad you read all the comments. There has been some fascinating discussion throughout the comments. This is one heck of a film, isn't it? :D

John Johnson said...

@Anon April 30, 2014 at 7:19 PM

So you'd agree with me she's essentially not a bad mother, just flawed right? Looks like most think she's fundamentally a bad mom. But when she's confronted with herself, she redeems herself immediately. That's not the trait of a bad mom. A badmom would blame everybody including her child(ren) but not herself.

[I have a question regarding this quote:
It's a tragic situation, it shows people's flaws and un willingness to change bad traits.]
What bad trait does she need to change and what would be the result if she was to change said bad trait?


Anonymous said...

I just wrote an extremely long comment and when I clicked publish it was gone. Don't tell me it just vanished? xDDD

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, Unfortunately, that happens sometime with blogger. I'm sorry. I wish there was a way to fix it.

Anonymous said...

So apparently it did indeed vanish so I have to write again X.X This time I will write two comments.
First Andrew, it really is an interesting movie, even though it was not a classical horror it was really scary. I mean a killer is a killer and a monster is a monster but this situation here was a real nightmare. I had a hard time going to sleep after watching this movie.
I'm new to your blog so I don't really know much about you but after just reading this review I must say that if you are not then you should become a movie critic. As a huge movie fan since forever I often get extremely angry when I read all those reviews on the internet or in the magazines from movie critics, most of them are complete morons, they just like to use intelligent words that don't even fit in the context of the sentence and they always write about things that were not there, you know what I mean, they over analyze everything. I have a rule that if a movie was criticized it means it was a good movie hehe :D
And I also have a question for you, have you seen the movie "Dark Country" ? I would really like to discuss this movie with somebody. It's a similar kind of situation but it is not as well made as Triangle so there are a lot of inaccuracies.
Oh and John Johnson, I wrote a very long comment to answer your question but unfortunately it disappeared so I will write it again tomorrow because I am too sleepy today xD

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I feel the same about movie critics. Most don't even understand the films they are criticizing and they just go for big words and vague concepts to make themselves sound smarter than they are.

In terms of being a critic, I'm not. I just like movies so I started this site to talk about them. It's been a lot of fun. Please feel free to look around. :)

I have not seen Dark Country, but I just looked it up and it looks interesting. I'll check it out and let you know when I've seen it.

Unknown said...

i just saw this movie for the first time. :O im impressed that you're still replying on this subject after 2 years. Great theories. gonna have to watch this movie again.

Unknown said...

on another note. im not sure if its relevant. but it seems that the dead jess in the final car accident scene had the same head injury pattern as the psycho jess who stabbed the guy and his girl. :O

AndrewPrice said...

Amir, This article gets visited every day, so clearly there is something about this film that compels people to look deeper. :)

I hadn't noticed that about the head wounds. I'll have to look next time I watch it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thought she was in purgatory because she was a bad person. She'll be there until she finally comprehends what she is doing. I thought the cabbie was kindly, a wise and sad angel having to deal with this broken soul. The seagull was obviously following her and observing, some sort of supernatural being - perhaps another angel? She sees impossibilities, yet continues on mindlessly. A pile of dead seagulls, the lockets down the grate - insane things, yet she continues doing bad things, killing people. That's purgatory, you're holed up in it until the terrible things are burned out of your soul. She is continually not dealing properly with any of her circumstances.

Digestive Pyrotechnics said...

I like this batch-wise representation and explanation here, few plot holes remain though:

John Johnson said...

Slightly OT but I wanted to share you this SF-esque shorty on the Youtube (link below). It's a short movie about a life in a vicious circle though far less developed. Nevertheless, I feel my fellow reader deserves the link in this thread. So here it is:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone is still checking this, but no one has mentioned the time on Jess' watch and the boat are both the same 8:17 where everyone else has 11:30. The post it note at her house tells her to meet Greg at 8:30, so I'd say this means she died at 8:17, and she probably did not murder her son but they both died on the way to the boat in the crash.

I have wondered if the rest of the people on the boat aren't there to possibly prod her out of her poor decision making since they are constantly questioning her about her son, about guilt and also we see her continually replay a refusal to take responsibility for her actions, she repeatedly says 'it wasn't me' without any explanation, as if she's saying it to herself.

I do believe she could break the cycle either if she does not choose violence when she is on the boat or when the cab driver offers her a ride...she has many choices here, no ride, a ride to 'anywhere'..but instead she always chooses to go back to the dock and restart the loop in the hopes of altering the outcome, but she always resorts to violence, sometimes sooner...the bad Jess and sometimes later, Jess Prime, but so far, she has always decided to kill everyone in order to get herself off the ship.

It appears she was a pretty bad mother since when she is in the car she tells her son that she won't hurt him any more and that the person who previously hurt him is not "her" which not only echoes what she tells everyone on the ship about what her other selves have done, but strongly suggests that she routinely abused the boy and the slap wasn't the first time she harmed him.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I do check all the old threads. :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think the irony is that she can break the loop if she just stops, but she is convinced that she can fix the situation by killing everyone, so she keeps going. Hence, it will never end.

Nice catch on the 8:17!

Anonymous said...

Ha. Thanks. It's being aired on Showtime and is available on demand so this thread might see some new action beyond me. I can't believe I had never heard of this movie or that it didn't get a wider release or more critical acclaim considering how layered and complicated it is.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I think the problem was that the trailer made it look like a poorly done sci-fi slasher flick. So I suspect that lots of potential viewers were turned off without ever seeing it. Whatever the cause, it's too bad. This film deserves to be noticed.

Unknown said...

Its similar to the movie , circle of eight

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks arunima, I'll have to check that out. :)

John Johnson said...

@arunima kakoty
Keep us posted. Looks like a time waster. What do you think? Worth viewing it?

Unknown said...

I liked it. I do believe in karma. I initially thought the movie is about black hole and time travel but i love how others have interpretated the story in relation to sisiphus.

Unknown said...

Very good work @andrewprice 👌

AndrewPrice said...

Thank you, arunima! :D

John, I will definitely let you know once I see it.

John Johnson said...

@arunima kakoty
@AndrewPrice & visitors

OK, I have seen it. The movie finished 2 minutes ago.
Yes, it does have a similar theme to Triangle. However, the execution is far less in terms of acting and logic. I don't care much for IMDB ratings (or any ratings) but the 3.9 average should be a dead giveaway. Also, I figured it out at 25% of the movie, but then again, I knew how to think because Arunima mentioned it in the context of Triangle here.
Also, it's sponsored by Mountain Dew, so it kinda gives away the audience it's aiming at. I simply can't recommend that movie, but I won't giveaway spoilers in case anyone decides to watch it. Per request I'll post the spoiler. Nevertheless, It was good catch by Arunima indeed; very on topic.

Unknown said...

Just watched it. 😊 do you believe in afterlife?

John Johnson said...


Anonymous said...

i've watched this movie three times now and each time was just as captivating as the first!
I'm still trying to piece together the puzzle but seem to always fall back on one problem with the plot.
So let's say that morning, the ORIGINAL Jess (meaning the one before the loop even began) is getting ready to head out to the dock to meet with Greg and friends. She rushes to get ready, but presumably got pissed at her son for making a mess of her dress etc, so she strikes him in a fit of rage and accidentally kills him, at around 8:15. In a state of shock, she puts his body in a bag and drives off to the dock. She then boards the yacht with everybody else while coming off as strange to Victor. They all die at sea after hitting the storm, except for Heather who supposedly survived since she wasn't a part of the loop. From there, they board Aeolus.
Now here lies my problem. How does this very first original Jess figure out that she must kill the others in order to get back to her son? There would be no prior Jess to leave her notes or hints.
Any ideas??

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I have a couple ideas.

1. The path for the original Jess may have been different, and what we see has evolved over time. For example, she may have reached the Aeolus, found herself damned to spend forever there and tried to kill herself, and that started the loop. Alternatively, she may have reached the Aeolus, gone insane, blamed her friends for taking her away from her son and killed them, starting the loop.

2. There seem to be 2 or 3 loops running simultaneously. It's possible that when she reached the Aeolus, she witnessed the future loop already running, saw her future self, and then did what she did after that.

3. It's also possible that she started the loop by wishing for a chance to go back and try again, and the loop(s) just grew up around her as she kept repeating the wish.

In terms of why she would think to kill the others, I think that's just her insanity. She seems to want to re-write history, so maybe she just sees eliminating them as a necessary step in that.

John Johnson said...

Gif related :)

Vibrant Source said...

slasher trash!! I would have broke the stupid replaying horrible sounding record in a million pieces and pushed the vintage victrola overboard end of a wasted time of eyecandy trauma--come on, the bloody knife scenes----exhausting to watch--

Jibbsy2012 said...

Bringing it into 2018 now (6 years from your original post!)

Just watched this film and it blew my mind to the point I have just spent like 3 hours reading all I can about it.

Need to watch it again (tomorrow!) And hopefully can add a few of my own thoughts, which require another viewing to consolidate!

AndrewPrice said...

Jibbsy2012, I'll be curious to hear your thoughts!

Jibbsy2012 said...

Hi Andrew

Ok, so after watching it again and thinking about the loopings, my interpretation (may have been covered already above, I’m not sure), is that Jess killed her son in anger at 8.17, then went on the boat trip, and it is the storm that killed her (and the others), not the car crash. I don’t think the car crash actually happened in reality as the dead Jess in the car crash has the stained dress on, which she obviously would not have worn to the boat. Instead, the crash is part of the afterlife torment that resets her her back to square one - a dead Tommy, despite her thinking she has redeemed herself by killing bad Jess to save him. At this point in each cycle, the taxi driver/Charon gives her the option (or at least appears to do so) to stop the cycle by returning to him instead of heading on the whole ordeal again. However, I think this is actually her punishment in hell/Tartarus, rather than a purgatory, and so she will never accept to return to him.

That’s my thoughts anyway!!

AndrewPrice said...

Jibbsy2012, That's an interesting take that she died in the storm. That would explain why the others are in the loop with her too -- always struck me as odd that they are sharing her version of hell, unless they aren't really there.

I definitely think that the taxi driver gives her the chance to end the loop each time, but she never does because she can't accept the responsibility for what she's done.

Great movie!

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