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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.

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 Alamitos, 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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.
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Connections

References Clockers (1995) 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

 
Stop ruining good ideas!!
10 September 1999 | by Budd-5See all my reviews

Our society is so dependent on electricity so that when there is a blackout we despair. We find it hard to understand how people survived without the light switch, the TV, the refrigerator. The Trigger Effect is about such an occurence, but whereas our electricity usually comes back in a matter of hours, this movie's characters have to survive in the black for days. It is an interesting premise but it's horribly handled.

The characters we are shown are boring and two dimensional. An uneventful love triangle begins between the three leads which leads to nowhere. There are some interesting parts to the movie but it's let down by it's small budget. This movie demanded some cutting edge movie making, it fails to deliver. This could and should have been a much more (dare I say) violent picture. It's theme was that of man's devolution back into nature after it loses its use of technology. So we expect some nasty events to occur. It never happens.

A movie like this should have left the moviegoer with questions. How would you react in such a situation? Instead it only leaves us with a gaping mouth and a statement to the filmmakers. Stop ruining good ideas!!


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