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The Trigger Effect (1996)

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A blackout leaves those affected to consider what is necessary, what is legal, and what is questionable, in order to survive in a predatory environment.



(television series Connections),



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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 USA:

$1,887,791, 1 September 1996

Gross USA:

$3,594,848, 29 September 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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, alluding to another classic The Twilight Zone (1959) episode, "A Stop At Willoughby". 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 »


[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.
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References The Twilight Zone (1959) See more »


Composed & Arranged by Greg De Belles (as Greg DeBelles)
Performed & Produced by Greg De Belles (as Greg DeBelles)
Courtesy of Klektik Music
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User Reviews

adding insult to injury
5 April 1999 | by 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.

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