Triggered (2020)

Nine friends about to get a “Battle Royale” of their own in this very well-made South African thriller.

A group of nine friends, having known each other since high school, are going camping for the weekend. They include couples Erin and Ezra, Kato and Amber, Rian and PJ, Shea and Bobby, and ninth wheel Kato. At first, they seem like they are having fun until they are knocked out by a mysterious man who has planted suicide bomb vests on them. When the nine wake up, they are completely shocked by what has happened. They learn the mysterious man is their former high school teacher, Mr. Peterson, who holds a grudge against one of the group for the death of his son but even he is unsure. He soon kills himself in front the group but not before telling them they have to kill each other until there is one left.

The group finds they have different countdown times. When Bobby is the first to die after admitting he was blackmailed to help him lure the group, the group begins to freak out. When PJ accidentally kills Shea, he soon makes a remarkable discovery. The person who kills another will have the victim’s time added on to their vest. However, as the group struggles to survive, certain people soon find themselves going crazy and deciding to kill everyone else while others come across shocking twists that may change the game forever.

Director Alastair Orr and co-writer David D. Jones have come up with a Battle Royale-esque thriller but revolving around nine friends who all may be involved with a dark secret. This film shows all the different personas of the characters taking either a positive or negative turn as the film goes on. The film’s opening has a sort of “what to expect” or so we think before it delves into a typical camp horror film pre-kill sequence. However, at the 15-minute mark, we see the suicide vests and that’s when the film goes full-blast!

The cast is very quite interesting with some really elevating their skills above others. Liesl Ahlers is the innocent Erin, who somehow found herself involved in this deadly adventure. She is reminiscent of Noriko in Battle Royale, the innocent girl who finds herself in a situation she shouldn’t have been involved in. Reine Swart is great as Rian, whose relationship with drummer PJ, played by Cameron Scott, seems to draw the ire of Kato, played with such brashness and abrasiveness by Russell Crous. Kato and Amber, played by Paige Bonnin, go through the most change as they become respectively the Kiriyama and Mitsuko of the film (Battle Royale fans will get that one.)

One will wonder about the FX of the film. This is where the film really does its bidding. The FX are exciting as the practical gore effects stand out. Not only do we get to see a few explosions, but some pretty good close quarter combat style killings in the process as well. The film’s twists in the second half really elevate the film as a whole with the final moments becoming quite a shock.

Triggered is a well-made Battle Royale-style thriller with some intricate plot twists that help the cast elevate in their performances. This is one film I would watch more than once.

WFG RATING: A-

Samuel Goldwyn Films presents an Octane Entertainment production in association with The First Order and Polanomade with the participation of DTI South Africa. Director: Alastair Orr. Producers: Ariye Mehbad and Chwayita Dlulune. Writers: Alastair Orr and David D. Jones. Cinematography: Brendan Barnes. Editing: Alastair Orr.

Cast: Reine Swart, Sean Cameron Michael, Liesl Ahlers, Russell Crous, Steven Ward, Cameron Scott, Paige Bonnin, Kayla Prirett, Michael Potter, Suraya Santos, Craig Urbani.

The film will be released on Digital and On Demand on November 6.

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