5.7/10
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64 user 28 critic

The Trigger Effect (1996)

Trailer
1:58 | Trailer
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.

Director:

David Koepp

Writers:

James Burke (television series Connections), David Koepp

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kyle MacLachlan ... Matthew
Elisabeth Shue ... Annie Kay
Dermot Mulroney ... Joe
Richard T. Jones ... Raymond
Bill Smitrovich ... Steph
Michael Rooker ... Gary
Tori Kristiansen Tori Kristiansen ... Sarah
Tyra Kristiansen Tyra Kristiansen ... Sarah
Rick Worthy ... Johnny
Edhem Barker Edhem Barker ... Trendy German Guy
Tyrone Tann ... Tripping Guy
David O'Donnell ... Hand Holding Guy
Monica Torres Monica Torres ... Hand Holding Girl
Greg Grunberg ... Double Date Guy
Kerri Vickers 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 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

Taglines:

When Nothing Works, Anything Goes.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 August 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Trigger Effect See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,887,791, 2 September 1996

Gross USA:

$3,622,979

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,622,979
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Koepp: Sitting on a car at the side of the road eating ice cream. See more »

Goofs

As evidenced in the movie after the electrical system breakdown, all sources of power were shut down and unresponsive, including the radio vehicles yet one police radio can be heard with the command central dispatching orders from time to time. 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 »

Connections

References The Twilight Zone (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

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 »

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User Reviews

 
Like Everyone Else Has Said
27 September 2005 | by Theo RobertsonSee 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


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