5.7/10
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60 user 24 critic

The Trigger Effect (1996)

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1:58 | Trailer

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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.

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:

Der große Stromausfall - Eine Stadt im Ausnahmezustand 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, 1 September 1996

Gross USA:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Another source of inspiration for this movie came from the first episode of the television 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 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 »

Quotes

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


Soundtracks

Danger Tension
Written by Ib Glindemann (uncredited)
From 1968 Version of "Night of the Living Dead"
Courtesy of Ole Georg / Euroscreen Music
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User Reviews

 
At least its got an interesting concept (and a very fine female lead)...
3 June 2009 | by MarkCrozierSee all my reviews

which is a lot more than you can say for most movies...

I caught this flick one night on television. One of my favourite things is when I stumble across some little movie on TV that I haven't seen before. This happened to me one night when I was just skipping channels, as you do.

What stopped me dead in my tracks was the sight of Elizabeth Shue. Now I freely admit that this woman just hypnotizes me. She's extremely appealing on several levels so I will often watch a movie that's an obvious turkey (The Saint, The Hollow Man) just because she is in it.

Elizabeth aside, the movie itself proved to have quite a diverting premise: the meltdown of society when some of the trappings are suddenly removed. There is a lot that could have been done with this, but the production was obviously not that well-financed, so the director smartly focused on the characters instead.

It really isn't as bad as many of the people here make it out to be. The three leads are interesting enough, there is a sub-plot in the form of a love triangle to keep things interesting and the concept is certainly relevant enough in today's times to hold one's attention.

Yes, OK, its not a classic but its not a complete disaster either. And I for one detest neat little endings tied up in a bow.

Ultimately, as with many films, its down to the circumstances in which it is viewed. If you're looking to be entertained for a couple of hours on a slow week night, you could do a lot worse.


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