Trigger Man misses it's mark
D. Wilson | NY by way of Cali | 06/14/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I really hate the fact that I had to give this a 3 star rating... director Ti West's first film, The Roost, was such an enjoyable ode to the minimalist horror films of the 70's that it felt like it was made distinctly for people like myself (you know, the guy who constantly rewatches movies like TCM, Halloween, Phantasm, Black Christmas, Dawn Of The Dead, etc., and rarely delivers praise to anything made past the new millenium... yeah, that guy). Instead of rabid bats that turn people into the living dead (!), this time around we get a story about three friends reconnecting for a hunting trip only to become prey themselves to a mysterious sniper. Now for the good and bad points...
- Feels almost like a documentary with the way it was filmed, putting you right there with the rest of the group.
- Characters look like they could be normal people you'd see on the street (as opposed to the gorgeous types often found in most movies), and are facing off against an all too real threat.
- Builds a nice sense of foreboding and uses the scenery to create some excellent atmosphere.
- Great effects when the bullets start flying (particularly the brain matter!).
- The music is fantastic! Thumping bass lines that echo back and forth while violens screech and stab at each other, superb stuff!
- For those that hope of making a movie with a dollar and a dream, here's proof that it's possible.
- Feels like a documentary... filmed entirely with a handheld camera, often with shaky and out of focus results (a friend watching this with me said it made her sick).
- There are only 3 characters that share the majority of screen time (and only 6 all together) and about 30 lines of dialogue is spoken throughout the film.
- Looooooong shots of characters walking through the woods, often not saying anything at all. It does build suspense (because you know something is going to happen any minute now... any minute... just a little longer... wait for it... any minute now...), however, it's at the risk of losing the more impatient viewers.
- Truly some great effects when death does occur but, with only 6 total characters, death just doesn't occur as much as you might like.
- Sound is important to the film, unfortunately it can be overwhelming at times, even drowning out characters dialogue (luckily there isn't much dialogue huh?).
- By the end, you might realize that making a GOOD movie with a dollar and a dream is harder then it looks.
So I liked it, but at the same time I understand that this won't be a movie the majority is going to want to sit through (even horror fans). It takes awhile to get going, and even when it does it only switches from a snail's pace to a turtle's pace... also the finale may underwhelm most who feel they deserved more after sitting through the first hour and ten minutes. Now for those that can appreciate Ti West's vision and his ability to make movies on such a micro-budget, Trigger Man should deliver a solid watch (although I would still recommend seeing The Roost first), regretfully I would warn all others to pass on this. The DVD from Kino (the company that brought Takashi Miike's Dead Or Alive trilogy to the U.S.) is excellent and features a couple audio commentary tracks as well as a fun videotaped Q&A with Ti and the entire cast.