Trigger Effect, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2 1/2

What if your town had a total blackout? What if you were forced to arm yourself against neighbors? What if you had to trust your life to a total stranger? These are some of the questions you may ask yourself after seeing THE TRIGGER EFFECT. Annie and Matt (Elisabeth Shue and Kyle Maclachlan) are a complacent young couple living in a suburban neighborhood. Annie has become a bit bored with her nice guy husband. When the town experiences a total power failure, that boredom is quickly replaced with fear. The baby has a high fever, the doctor can't call for a prescription and, maybe worst of all, credit cards and ATM machines are useless. Chaos reigns. Matt's old friend Joe (Dermot Mulroney) shows up, announcing that looters are rampant. Annie invites Joe to stay with them, and now Matt must deal with Annie's attraction to this visitor along with the power crisis. Like the rest of the town, he decides to buy a gun to protect his family. Sure enough, one hellish event triggers another, culminating when Matt is forced to place his life in the hands of a total stranger. The unrelenting tension and drama are almost unbearable, but the performances are believable in this thought-provoking and suspenseful story.

The film's portrayal of ordinary citizens becoming trigger happy is, no doubt, an attempt to make a politically correct statement about gun control. It also illustrates how our dependence on electrical power and automation can create anarchy. But as Matt performs heroically to save all that is dear to him, some of the film's negative views of human nature are overshadowed. Annie's conscience prevents her from having an affair with Joe, but they are shown once in a passionate embrace. Matt and Annie are interrupted during a sexually charged caress while clothed, but there are no other sex scenes. Many obscenities, profanities and verbal threats are used to express frustration and anger between neighbors, friends and strangers. An intruder is shot and killed, and there are several gun threats and one other shooting. These scenes are not gratuitous, although some bloody wounds are graphic. THE TRIGGER EFFECT dramatically presents a dark view of human nature during a crisis. But primarily its frequent f- and s-words, plus many regular profanities, severely damage its acceptability.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Gramercy Pictures, 9247 Alden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (7) times - Mild 2, Moderate 5

Obscene Language: Many (24) times - F-word 15, s-word 9

Profanity: Many (10) times - Regular 8 (JC 3, G 3, C 1, GD 1), Exclamatory 2

Violence: Many times - Moderate (verbal and gun threats; shootings, one killing)

Sex: None

Nudity: None; Near nudity - once (woman in brief underwear)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Husband and wife caressing in bed while clothed; unmarried couple kiss passionately

Drugs: Drunkenness once, some smoking

Other: Support for gun control implied; dark side of human nature in crisis

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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