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The Trigger Effect (1996)

5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 4,432 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 23 critic

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 »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Joe
...
Raymond
...
Steph
...
Gary
Tori Kristiansen ...
Sarah
Tyra Kristiansen ...
Sarah
...
Johnny
Edhem Barker ...
Trendy German Guy
...
Tripping Guy
...
Hand Holding Guy
Monica Torres ...
Hand Holding Girl
...
Double Date Guy
Kerri Vickers ...
Double Date Girl
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Storyline

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 rifle 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

Taglines:

When Nothing Works, Anything Goes.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der große Stromausfall - Eine Stadt im Ausnahmezustand  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Another source of inspiration for this movie came from the first episode of the TV series, Connections (1978), hosted by a co-writer of this movie, James Burke. The episode is called Connections: The Trigger Effect (1978). See more »

Goofs

When Matthew walks from the hospital to the pharmacist to steal the prescription for the baby, the trolley camera and the guy pulling it are reflected in the shop window. See more »

Quotes

[Her husband and Joe are arguing.]
Annie: Boys, if you can't play nice, we're not gonna have any more of these little sleepovers.
See more »


Soundtracks

Danger Tension
From 1968 Version of "Night of the Living Dead"
Courtesy of Ole Georg / Euroscreen Music
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User Reviews

 
Like Everyone Else Has Said
27 September 2005 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

A power blackout sweeps across America leading to fear which slowly manifests itself into suspicion : Who will you be able to trust if the lights don't come back on ? That's the idea behind THE TRIGGER EFFECT , a film that on the surface resembles the plot of a novel by John Wyndham or John Christopher but as so very , very many people on this page have screamed from the roof tops this isn't a movie that makes the best of a great idea

The film starts with a sequence that can best be described as " Robert Altman directing the opening shot of SUPERMAN 3 " which is meant as a compliment to Robert Koepp . as the story continues we're quickly introduced to the characters of Matthew and Annie Kay who have a baby . They're visited by their friend Joe and then disaster strikes when the electricity runs out and shows no signs of returning . Get ready for danger

On second thoughts don't get ready for danger . There's something about this scenario that I can't quite pout my finger on . Maybe it's to do with the scenario which is credible but the actions of the characters aren't . Would a long lasting power cut lead to the collapse of civilization as we know it ? Possibly since everyone went on a looting rampage during the New York blackout of the late 1970s and let us not forget the mass panic caused by reports of rapes , murders and other assorted evil after Hurricane Katrina but even so I was not convinced that a power cut would lead to a post apocalypse scenario , it's not like the population has been rendered blind by a meteorite shower ( DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS ) or a worldwide famine is in progress ( THE DEATH OF GRASS ) or a nuclear war has happened ( Insert your most depressing Nuclear holocaust movie here ) . Perhaps I should point out that THE TRIGGER EFFECT probably isn't a post apocalypse type movie so if you're expecting 28 DAYS LATER you're in for a rude awakening , this is more of a slow burning drama where characters seem to be making mountains out of mole hills . By trying to be realistic it ends up being unrealistic . I'm sure most people would nonchantley sit on their behinds in this type of situation rather glad that their quarterly electricity bill would lower than usual . Hell the police are still driving around arresting people during a blackout , do you understand what I'm saying about a lack of credibility ?

I have criticised the characters but to be honest I think the problem lies with Koepp's casting more than his writing . I found Kyle Maclachlan rather wimpy as Matthew . I guess the point was that adversity can lead to wimps turning into violent anti-heroes but I was never convinced by his performance while the rest of the cast failed to make any type of impression on me at all

All in all this is a very disappointing contribution to speculative fiction . Let me just repeat that I doubt if it's intended to be an out and out grim depressing story of man fighting to survive , it's more of a drama about how reliant we are on both electricity and each other but the story never reaches its full potential which is a great shame


8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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
A prescient prediction of post-Katrina chaos... wordmonkey
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