The Triangle - A TBS Original Movie

by Mike McGranaghan

 
One of the differences between TV movies and theatrical movies is that TV movies are free, and therefore tend to get a little more audience leniency. A movie you'd never pay $8 to see in a theater can provide a pleasant diversion for an evening in front of the tube. That's the case with The Triangle, an original movie that premieres on the TBS Superstation on August 12. This is nothing more than a trashy B-movie, but it admittedly kept me watching.

Luke Perry plays Stu Sheridan, a material Manhattanite who is hiding a financial crisis from his girlfriend Julia (Polly Shannon). He does this partly out of ego and partly because he doesn't want to ruin their Caribbean fishing trip with buddies Tommy (Dan Cortese) and Gus (David Hewlett). Once in the Caribbean, the group charters a fishing boat run by Captain Louis Morgan (Dorian Harewood) and his assistant "Charlie" Duval (Olivia D'Abo).


Luke Perry, Olivia D'Abo, and Dan Cortese star in The Triangle. Photo by Frank Ockenfels.
 
A number of strange phenomena surround the fishing trip. Charlie strongly resembles the mystery woman who has been appearing in Tommy's nightmares. Gus callously interrupts a voodoo ritual. And, most ominously, the fishing boat gets stranded right in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle.

The group spots a large luxury liner that supposedly disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle decades before. They climb aboard to look for a radio so they can signal for help. The longer they spend on the boat, the eerier things become. The ghost of an old-time movie star haunts the ship, and eventually Stu becomes possessed by a supernatural force that causes him to behave strangely - and dangerously. There is also a subplot about cabin 116, which has been another fixture in Tommy's dreams. Whatever the source of evil is, it appears to be originating in that room.

The Triangle was directed by Lewis Teague (who, in one scene, makes sure to get a closeup of a poster for the movie Cujo, which he also directed). Despite having some experience directing horror movies, he doesn't make this one particularly scary. Some of the scenes are edited in a choppy way that takes away from the potential thrills, while others are marred by some mediocre acting (Cortese is the most guilty culprit). And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which characters are going to be killed, and when.

That said, what makes The Triangle pleasantly diverting is the nature of the story. A big haunted luxury liner provides a compelling backdrop for a thriller. I like the whole idea that the ship isn't real; after all, everyone knows it sank a long time ago, yet here they are standing on it. The plot twists involving cabin 116 are interesting, too. Stu finds a key to the room underwater while scuba diving. When he eventually uses it to open the room, I was truly interested in what he'd find. There is just enough imagination in the plot to compensate for some of the other flaws.

The screenplay (by Ted Humphrey) could have been rewritten slightly (to have some of the cliches taken out) and turned into a first-rate Hollywood thriller. As it stands, the concept proves sufficient to hold one's attention for two hours. The Triangle is not worth an $8 ticket, but if you're not in the mood for reruns, it certainly will provide a modest amount of entertainment.

GRADE: C+


The Triangle premieres Sunday, August 12 at 8 PM (ET) / 7 PM (PT) on the TBS Superstation. Encore showings are August 15 @ 9 PM, August 18 @ 8 PM, August 19 @4 PM, August 20 @ 10 PM, August 25 @ 5 PM, and August 26 @ 11 AM. All times are ET.

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