TRIGGERED (2020) Reviews and overview

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‘Friends with some time to kill’

Triggered is a 2020 South African horror film about nine friends, all harbouring a dark secret, who go camping in the woods. They wake up having been gassed with suicide bombs strapped to their chests, all with varying times on their countdown clocks. They decide to work out how to disarm the bombs or find help – until they discover they can ‘take’ one another’s time by killing each other…

Directed and edited by Alastair Orr (The House on Willow Street; The Unforgiving; Expiration; Indigenous) from a screenplay written by David D. Jones.

The Polanomode Media-The First Order production stars Reine Swart, Sean Cameron Michael, Liesl Ahlers and Suraya Rose Santos.

Our view:

The pretty-yet-dumb (“entitled”) clichéd characters aren’t inspiring enough to engage with (“Jesus, you’re so annoying!”) so there is nobody to root for. Meanwhile, the OTT premise is hilariously overwrought and obviously indebted to Battle Royale.

Nonetheless, Triggered is fast-paced, well-edited and entertainingly daft (characters discuss relationship angst with a bomb strapped to their chest – yeah, right). Frankly, the explosive death scenes can’t come too soon.

Other reviews:

“Smart, funny and at times brutal body-count flick that makes the most of its premise. Good playing by an unfamiliar cast helps, as does controlled direction and lighting, and excellent backwoods location work.” 255 Review

“The characters were as thin as my bank account on payday, and the humor didn’t blend well with the intense survival tone. Even a mixed bag can offer up a few good shots, and at this point, I’ll take the small wins when I can, but with dumb character decisions and some cringe-worthy dialogue, I felt like every time Triggered was working, they’d slow it down for a Juno-esq monologue and kill the vibe.” Arrow in the Head

“Aware that it would be relatively empty-headed by design, I still found the film to be dumber and duller than anticipated. A savagely subversive satire of the ‘kill game’ subgenre could tap the vein of vicious violence this movie only pokes at. More indistinguishably common than legitimately cheeky, Triggered never finds the stylistic flair to turn itself into a standout.” Culture Crypt

“The premise of the film is brilliant and I can see what the filmmakers were trying to do. Unfortunately, it’s let down by sloppy dialogue, an overly convoluted plot and a cast of characters you simply don’t care about.” Entertainment Focus

Triggered actually aspires to do more than meet the basic requirements of its knowingly trashy premise. While the final twist might prove a tad too ridiculous for some, it still doesn’t really linger far outside the movie’s established tonal wheelhouse. Marvel as annoying youngsters get slaughtered en masse in this well-acted, hilariously self-aware millennial riff on Battle Royale.” Flickering Myth

“This horror scenario isn’t fleshed out well with the hilarious but misplaced comedy/one-liners and life or death pace “Triggered” tries to deliver. With the timers that explode once they reach zero, the pacing and dialogue seems at times very unnecessary. The constant pointless bickering really ruins the immersiveness throughout the movie.” Fright Nerd

” …great fun. The script from David D. Jones is good, the mystery behind what is going on is well done, the script is full of terrific, funny lines, character development is good, there was a lot to like. It helps that the cast are terrific.” The Grump of Horror

” …both an exciting film and a potentially suitable candidate for a franchise. Like The Purge before it, Triggered forces viewers to think about whether or not they’d embrace a survivalist instinct and get their hands bloody. If it’s well-marketed, I think think this one may get talked about in future.” Horror Cult Films

“This is a full-throttle, yet smartly navigated exercise in chaos and panic – a teen-angst-driven, killing-spree-in-the-woods rampage that’s consistently smirk-inducing in its self-referentiality and a genuine laugh-out-loud one-liner wonder, but also straight-faced and suspenseful enough to keep you on tenterhooks until its rewarding climax.” Horror DNA

” …Triggered is a really solid entry into the Battle Royale genre of films that offers you precisely what you want when going into a film that promises to strap bombs to teenagers, the gore is great, the story is passable and most of the characters are annoying enough that you don’t mind seeing them blow up!” The Horrorcist

“Director Alastair Orr manages to wring maximum tension, suspense and (thanks to some truly funny culturally aware dialogue) laughs out of this plotline, ably assisted by actors who provide colour and character to what was doubtless just sketched out on paper. Triggered feels like Battle Royale crossed with a Friday the 13th film and that’s no bad thing.” House of Mortal Cinema

“While bombs strapped to unsuspecting victims is far from original, David D Jones and Alistair Orr’s explosive writing keeps Triggered from going off the rails and falling into the been-there-done-that territory. You hate, love, and suspect the right people, and just when you think you have it all figured out, Jones and Orr go ahead and subvert your assumptions. Each character is fleshed out with unique and individual personalities, a rare gem in films like this.” Killer Horror Critic

“David D. Jones’ script is constructed as well as the suicide vests, and Orr’s direction is nicely pacey – this doesn’t need extraneous flashbacks, and sticks entirely to the woods and these characters in their extreme peril.” The Kim Newman Web Site

“Blending Battle Royale with retro gamer logic Triggered is packed with people running, yelling, panicking and beating the living crap out of each other making it the perfect late-night movie that is sure to please horror fans looking for a blood-splattered joy ride rather than an intellectual thought piece.” Love Horror

” …Triggered is deliciously fun, the nastiness of the characters inspiring both salty dialogue and crowd-pleasing deaths. Some ill-judged bi-phobic slurs aside, the tone here is joyful as unlikeable villains meet untimely ends, whilst deft performance work from Reine Swart and Cameron Scott manages to hit surprising resonance in amongst the carnage.” Moving Pictures Film Club

Triggered is a swift and subversive little horror comedy that ticks all the classic slasher boxes in a fresh context. Orr and Jones spend just fifteen minutes setting up their premise before diving head-first into the bloody meat of their story. Fans of guts and gore will get a good helping of practical effects and brutal kills.” Nightmarish Conjurings

” …the rug pull here is well-timed and as bonkers as the badass butchery before it and as such does not discompose the viewer. Triggered is a deliciously bitter and bloody kill fest. Infused with talent, care and enthusiasm it is also a highly entertaining midnight flick that does exactly what it says on the high concept can.” The People’s Movies

Triggered is a low-budget production, filmed in just over a couple of weeks, but it flows together so well that you’d hardly know this. It is over the top without being cheesy or ridiculous, unpredictable without being illogical.” Pop Times

Triggered offers a deeply cynical, Darwinian portrait of human nature in extremis – and no matter how close these characters come to their mortality, the formative trauma of their school days is never far behind.” VODzilla

Triggered does have some decent plotting and some surprising plot twists. There are a couple that stretches believability. But for the most part, they make sense, including the final reveal. There’s also lots of gore on display […] I liked Triggered a good deal more than I thought I would. For the most part, its fast pace and bloody surprises distracted me from the film’s problems.” Voices from the Beyond


Triggered was released in the USA by Samuel Goldwyn Films on Digital and VOD platforms on November 6th 2020.

Cast and characters:

Reine Swart … Rian
Sean Cameron Michael … Peterson
Liesl Ahlers … Erin
Suraya Rose Santos … Shea (as Suraya Santos)
Craig Urbani … Miller
Steven John Ward … Ezra
Cameron Scott … PJ (as Cameron R. Scott)
Russell Crous … Kato
Kayla Privett … Cici
Paige Bonnin … Amber
Michael Lawrence Potter … Bobby (as Michael Potter)


Not to be confused with Chris Moore’s 2018 film of the same name.


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