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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),





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Matthew
... Annie Kay
... 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


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

Show more 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, alluding to another classic The Twilight Zone (1959) episode, "A Stop At Willoughby". See more »


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 »


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


References The Twilight Zone (1959) See more »


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

A good flick if you've just had a lenghty power outage
6 May 2010 | by See all my reviews

The reason why I purchased this movie was because last year we had a power outage that lasted 2+ days for us. Some people in our area didn't have power for almost a week. I heard about the movie from a friend of mine that suggested it due to the event that we experienced. Due to us getting the movie shortly after the experience, I found it to be very entertaining and very close to what could happen to "civil" people if they were hit with such a situation for an extended period of time. It hit close to home for me and made me think about how dependent we our of good ole fashion electricity. If you want to see a movie that will give you a slice of what could happen when the power goes out then you will definitely want to see this film. Just think if your city goes without power. You then have no TV, you can't use your debit card, you have no heat or air conditioning depending on the season, no computer, no light at night, and that's just the beginning. When we had our outage we could at least get in the car and go to the mall and have lunch or whatever but if the WHOLE city goes down for a significant amount of time, then there's definitely going to be trouble on the way. And that's what this movie is basically about. Good, entertaining, and recommended for all...

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