Part Battle Royale, part Saw and part college frat film, Triggered plays out as bloody good fun.

It is not perfect (I’ll explain later) and it obviously leans heavily on the films noted above, but that doesn’t stop writer/director Alastair Orr’s offering from starting with a bang (literally) and barely pausing for breath.

The set-up is simple – a bunch of high school pals (it’s a South African film but set in the US) get together for a reunion party in the woods, with alcohol and sex flying around all over the place.

This isn’t quite your ‘run of the mill’ group though, as a tragedy bonds the pack as much as friendship – namely the death via overdose of one of their friends some time previous.

Retreating to their respective tents as couples, the youngsters get a (very rude) awakening in the darkness when, wouldn’t you know, the father of the dead student turns up at the camp, crazed and looking for revenge.

Turns out the whole get-together was rigged and, even worse for the pals, they are all now wearing suicide vests, with countdown timers telling them they each have less than an hour to live. Thing is though, there is a way you can add time to your clock, but it may involve doing something nasty to one of your friends…

That is all you really need to know about Triggered really, as it’s a film that sets out to give the audience a good time – and it delivers.

Yes, there are themes of guilt, loyalty and redemption at play, but the carnage is king here.

And when that carnage comes it comes bloodily, with plenty of dismemberment and bloodshed if that is your thing.

Credit should go to writer Orr for adding a bit of depth to the characters – yes, they are your stereotypes at the start (the jock, the nerd, the rocker, the shy one etc) but as the film progresses layers are pulled back and each has a lot more going on than it first appeared.

The cast also delivers, namely Reine Swart as Rian. Driving the film along, Swart adopts ‘final girl’ duties for a chunk of the running time and proves a resourceful, likeable lead. The ‘clever’ one of the group, Rian practically drags her boyfriend along at times, happily getting her hands dirty if the situation requires.

As stated at the outset, Triggered is not perfect – some of the dialogue was too ‘knowing’ for my liking (would you really argue over pop culture references in the middle of a life-and-death situation?), while one ‘late in the day’ revelation from a lead character had me rolling my eyes.

But within seconds another character had detonated and things swiftly moved on, Orr eager to keep the audience guessing as to who (if anyone) will survive.

Doing exactly what it says on the tin, Triggered is fun, frantic and gory and proves one of the pleasant surprises of Frightfest.

Arrow Video Frightfest Digital Review: Triggered
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle