Trigger Effect1996

Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating: Unrated
Do yourself a favor and buy some canned goods, a flashlight, and a radio before you watch this film. Unfairly dismissed by the critics and missed by the public, this pre-Y2K suspense film by writer-director David Koepp (the writer of Jurassic Park and Apartment Zero) is a chilling, sobering experience that will turn any practical person into a paranoid, apocalyptic loon. When the power goes out in the big city and society starts to break down, husband and wife Matthew (Kyle MacLachlan) and Annie (Elisabeth Shue) find out that not even suburbia is safe. Complicating the situation is their mutual friend Joe (Dermot Mulroney), who stays with them during the blackout, partially because of his interest in Annie. Koepp's inventive and authentic take on interpersonal relationships (Shue and MacLachlan are great as a foundering couple) and the assault on the white-collar male ego are spot-on. Koepp doesn't stop there. He also plays and builds imaginatively on suspense conventions (including the casting of character-baddie Michael Rooker), race relations, and our prejudicial, judgmental attitudes toward strangers. The concatenation of events, how they affect us without our knowledge, and our dependence on the machinery and power that prop up our society complete this involving, perceptive analysis of our very weak social fabric. (The DVD includes some interesting production notes, including the fact that Annie and Matthew live on Maple and Willoughby, a nod to two famous episodes of The Twilight Zone, one of them being the paranoid "The Monsters Are Coming to Maple Street" episode.) --Keith Simanton

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