By Dr. Zaius
Thursday, July 26th, 2018 at 2:00 pm
Triggered Written and Directed by Chris Moore
Starring Meredith Mohler, Jesse Dalton, Amanda Wyss, Keni Bounds, Sam Furman, Arian Thigpen, Caitlyn Driscoll
Release date: July 12, 2018 (MS Premiere); Wide Release: 2019
With snowflake aggression on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum at its peak these days, Chris Moore‘s Triggered could not be coming out at a better time. While the premise is familiar, Triggered is a throwback ’80s style slasher for a new generation, capturing the vibes of the movies it pays homage to while evoking real questions about social justice warriors and the culture of being so easily offended. In an era where the horror genre is full of social and political commentary, Triggered fits in quite nicely.
The story is simple: 30 years ago, a string of murders ripped through Jackson, Mississippi. Suddenly, the “Jackson Ripper” is back. We meet Callee Bishop (Meredith Mohler), a high school senior and crusader with too many causes. She has a video blog where she attacks cultural appropriation by her classmates. Her constant complaining has led to the mirrors being covered in the bathrooms, the removal of fried chicken from the lunchroom menus, and god forbid you’re wearing chopsticks in your hair! Mohler is hilarious as the hyper-offended Callee. And her relationship with openly gay best friend Ian (Jesse Dalton) is the best part of the film.
Callee is the type of person who rather than mourn the death of classmates, will bitch about others’ false grief. She is super defensive of Ian, but he’s running out of patience with her. The straw that may break the camel’s back is when Callee “accidentally” kills a classmate in the girls’ bathroom. Ian’s response: “God, the one time you use the girls restroom!” Her plan is simple”¦ blame the serial killer. And as an added bonus, as “survivors” of a vicious killer, they can now become super popular and famous!
This is where Mohler’s performance takes off as she seamlessly transitions from SJW to internet celebrity complete with full makeover. She is gloriously over the top. This does not sit well with the actual killer, who begins stalking the “fakers.” This totally disrupts Ian, whose pursuit of closeted jock Zac (Sam Furman) makes for one of the most genuine same-sex relationships I’ve seen on screen, especially for a slasher horror film. In fact, in many ways Ian is the main character, a twist on the “final girl” dynamic that I found particularly interesting and refreshing.
Triggered, like many horror films made by obvious horror fans, contains lots of winks and nudges to its audience. The principal of the school is played by Amanda Wyss. Wyss is known in horror circles as Freddy Krueger’s first (and maybe best) on-screen kill, but she also was an ’80s icon, nearly driving John Cusack to suicide in Better Off Dead”¦
While heavy on respect to horror’s past, Moore’s film is very topical, funny, and has some killer one-liners. When Callee tells one bullying jock to “Be gone, Banana Republic C*nt!” I nearly spit out my drink. Moore himself cameos as a disheveled detective late in the film, another in a list of fun characters.
Triggered debuted this month in Moore’s home state of Mississippi and will be making the festival circuit soon. Moore shows a ton of promise and he’s definitely a person to look out for in the horror community. The writing is funny and topical, and the cast is really good especially Mohler and Dalton, who deliver standout performances. If you get a chance, make sure to check out Triggered and stay tuned to Geeks Of Doom for future news on the film.