The Trigger Effect - * * *

This intriguing thriller, even though it weakens a bit at the end, still packs a chilling punch. The Trigger Effect opens with an extended tracking shot reminiscent of Touch of Evil or The Player, introducing several of the main characters, as well as the generally irritable and unstable nature of L.A. society. Matthew (Kyle MacLachlan) and Annie (Elisabeth Shue) are the primary characters, a married couple with a sick infant. When power and communications are lost in Southern California for no apparent reason, society begins to collapse. When the couple hears reports of looting, Matthew, with family friend Joe (Dermot Mulroney) decides to purchase a gun. That decision comes in handy when a stranger breaks into their house. Society continues to disintegrate to the point that the threesome decide to make a run for the country. Yet can they escape society, or will their own conflicts destroy them on the way. This thriller starts out wonderfully, with a truly intriguing premise, and throughout, it maintains a high degree of uncertainty and tension. However, possibly because of such a strong buildup, it’s ending seems a bit too pat. Elisabeth Shue and Dermot Mulroney provide a high level of sexual tension, but Kyle MacLachlan character is a bit too wimpish to inspire much sympathy. The main strength of the film rests in its script. Written and directed by David Koepp, The Trigger Effect conveys the fragility of society. By focusing his attention on an everymanish family, he causes the audience to question how they would react in similar circumstances. Even though the ending doesn’t quite keep up the pace, The Trigger Effect is an effective thriller.

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