61 user 23 critic

The Trigger Effect (1996)

1:58 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

How tenuous is man's hold on civilization when survival becomes an issue? When the lights go out and stay out for several days, suburbanites Matthew and Annie learn the hard way that man is... See full summary »



(television series Connections),



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A recovering gambling addict attempts to reconcile with his family and friends but finds trouble and temptation when caught between feelings for his ex-wife and her dangerous hoodlum boyfriend.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Peter Gallagher, Elisabeth Shue, Alison Elliott
Palmetto (1998)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A recently released ex-con gets involved in a fake kidnapping scheme that turns very real.

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Elisabeth Shue, Gina Gershon
Don McKay (2009)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Don McKay, a high school janitor who leaves his hometown after a tragedy, returns 25 years later to rekindle a romance with his old flame, who is dying, but this homecoming brings McKay more than he bargained for.

Director: Jake Goldberger
Stars: Thomas Haden Church, Elisabeth Shue, Melissa Leo
Redfern Now: Promise Me (TV Movie 2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two young women are raped on their way home. The story follows the lives of both women and the different ways they deal with the crime.

Director: Rachel Perkins
Stars: Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair, Rarriwuy Hick
Fairlane Road (2016)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A troubled young man falls prey to sinister forces after he arrives in the desert to care for his dying uncle, while becoming ensnared in a decades old mystery.

Director: Gualtiero Negrini
Stars: Anthony Sherritt, Gualtiero Negrini, Lucy Kazarian
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A psychiatrist (Sciorra) is helping a neurotic art gallery owner who has a submissive and very satisfying sexual relationship with her new lover, a domineering man with a violent streak. An... See full summary »

Director: Christopher Crowe
Stars: Annabella Sciorra, Jamey Sheridan, Alan Alda
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Martha Horgan, a naive woman with an intellectual impairment who lives with her aunt Frances in a small town, is known for always telling the truth. She works at a dry cleaner, where her ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Gyllenhaal
Stars: Debra Winger, Barbara Hershey, Gabriel Byrne
Jennifer 8 (1992)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A big-city cop from L.A. moves to a small-town police force and immediately finds himself investigating a murder. Using theories rejected by his colleagues, the cop, John Berlin, meets a ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Robinson
Stars: Andy Garcia, Uma Thurman, Lance Henriksen
Thinner (1996)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An obese lawyer is cursed by a gypsy to lose weight...and lose weight...and lose weight...

Director: Tom Holland
Stars: Joe Mantegna, Robert John Burke, Lucinda Jenney
Submerged (2016)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

A young woman and her friends, who've been targeted by kidnappers, must do everything they can to survive after their limo is forced off the road and plunged into a canal.

Director: Steven C. Miller
Stars: Jonathan Bennett, Talulah Riley, Rosa Salazar
Ambushed (2013)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

In the frenetic underbelly of Los Angeles, Agent Maxwell closes in on an international cocaine smuggling operation run by criminal mastermind Vincent Camastra. When Agent Beverly Royce goes... See full summary »

Director: Giorgio Serafini
Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Vinnie Jones, Randy Couture
The Suspect (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Two African American social scientists pose as bank robbers in an effort to understand the racial dynamics of small-town law enforcement. However, their experiment takes an unplanned, deadly turn.

Director: Stuart Connelly
Stars: Mekhi Phifer, William Sadler, Sterling K. Brown


Cast overview, first billed only:
Tori Kristiansen ...
Tyra Kristiansen ...
Edhem Barker ...
Trendy German Guy
Tripping Guy
Hand Holding Guy
Monica Torres ...
Hand Holding Girl
Double Date Guy
Kerri Vickers ...
Double Date Girl


How tenuous is man's hold on civilization when survival becomes an issue? When the lights go out and stay out for several days, suburbanites Matthew and Annie learn the hard way that man is "by nature" a predatory creature. Matthew's long-time friend, Joe, happens by on the second day and a rivalry between the two friends simmers as Annie cares for her sick baby. When rumors of looting spread through the neighborhood, the two men buy a shotgun for protection but Annie throws it in the pool. Later, that same night, Joe hears a prowler downstairs and awakens Matthew. They chase the stranger from the house and out into the street where a neighbor shoots him to death. No longer safe in their own home, they decide to drive to Annie's parents some 500 miles away. Before they reach their destination, more trouble comes their way when they stop to siphon gas from an abandoned car and discover the driver in the back seat... Is this what is meant by "man's inhumanity to man?" Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When Nothing Works, Anything Goes.


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der große Stromausfall - Eine Stadt im Ausnahmezustand  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,887,791 (USA) (30 August 1996)


$3,594,848 (USA) (27 September 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story is inspired by the classic The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street," which depicts the denizens of the street slowly becoming crazy after a power failure. In fact, in the film's production notes, Matthew and Annie live on the corner of Maple and Willoughby (another classic TZ episode, "A Stop At Willoughby"), obvious allusions to "The Twilight Zone". See more »


When Matthew opens a cabinet in the kitchens (which is hung backwards - opening the wrong way for a corner cabinet), the top hinge breaks loose and the door almost comes completely off the cabinet. Later, Joe opens the same cabinet. The door does not fall loose from the top as it did for Matthew and he is seen tightening the lower hinge. See more »


Matthew: Is it bad out there?
Cop: Out where?
See more »


Blood, Guts & Firetrucks
Written by Wesley Willis, Dave Nooks, Pat Barnard, Brandon Murphy (as Brendan Murphy) & Dale Meiners
Performed by The Wesley Willis Fiasco (as Wesley Willis Fiasco)
Courtesy of Urban Legends Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

adding insult to injury
5 April 1999 | by (Halifax, Nova Scotia) – See all my reviews

One of those movies that could have been good, if Alfred Hitchcock was still alive. Everybody was in a bad mood anyway if the opening scenes were anything to go by. The opening scenes were good, by the way, which was one reason I kept watching, but to no avail. I agree, it gets worse as it goes along, as if the writer had one good idea then didn't know where to go with it, so it didn't go anywhere. If you're about to rent this movie anyway, think about why you've never heard of it.

36 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Elisabeth Shue showing her nipple in the DVD version victorids
Did Matt find out Annie's infidelity? remadri2000
The opening sequence scumoftheearth
A very important movie, in light of Katrina... ashestwoashes2000
This films needs to be rediscovered remadri2000
cigarettes calamari-fritti
Discuss The Trigger Effect (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: