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The Trigger Effect Reviews

A tightly scripted cautionary tale about what happens when the lights go down in Southern California, hiding behind a generic action-thriller title. Matt (Kyle MacLachlan), his wife Annie (Elisabeth Shue) and baby Sarah live in suburban security, a world away from the troubled streets of Los Angeles. But a total, inexplicable blackout quickly shows them that their modest piece of the American Dream -- nice house, decent neighbors, all the little luxuries money can buy -- isn't as secure as they thought. Screenwriter David Keopp's feature-directing debut proves he's better than the glossy blockbusters -- JURASSIC PARK, et al. -- on which he's made his reputation. Sure, this taut urban horror story owes plenty to The Twilight Zone and PANIC IN YEAR ZERO!, but it parks the preachiness and the exploitative sleaze at the door, and what's left is profoundly unnerving. The carefully choreographed opening sequence sets the tone: A series of strangers collide carelessly in a glossy movie theater, each thoughtless slight exposing the seething reserve of unfocused anger that makes apparently civilized people devolve into screaming savages. The rest of the movie pays off, in no small part due to subtle, convincing performances from MacLachlan, Shue and Dermot Mulroney, who plays the third leg of a triangle that never dissolves into cliche.