THE ROOSTíS Ti West comes this provocative throwback to the
wilderness thrillers of the seventies. TRIGGER MAN may be the very definition
of minimal, not to mention concise, pointed and pared-down.
2005ís THE ROOST, Ti Westís feature debut, was notable for its frank,
no-frills approach. TRIGGER MAN, from 2007, was Westís second film, and has a
similarly stripped-down aesthetic. Viewers of seventies-era classics like
DELIVERANCE, OPEN SEASON
and SHOOT will recognize a
like-minded sensibility at work in TRIGGER MAN, which continues those filmsí
argument that when a group of suburban men embark on a hunting trip trouble is
sure to follow!
Like THE ROOST, TRIGGER MAN was executive produced by
Larry Fessenden and
distributed through Fessendenís company Glass Eye Pix. Filming took place
largely on location in Wilmington Delaware, nearby where Ti West grew up.
The film hasnít attained the popularity of THE ROOST,
but is in many ways just as potent. The DVD release was by Kino, who specialize
in classic and foreign fare, which given the experimental nature of TRIGGER MAN
Three twentynothing guys travel from their home base of New York City to
the wilds of Delaware, where they intend to shoot deer and drink beer. After
much aimless wandering in the woods they come upon several deserted
warehouses--and one of the guys is shot by an unseen sniper.
Another of the guys is sniped shortly after, leaving just one. A woman
jogger is also shot, as is a photographer. This leaves the single hunter to
face down the unseen attacker(s) on his own.
Those wanting complexity had best look elsewhere, as this is a singularly
single-minded film about nothing more than what it depicts: three guys hunted by
an unseen sniper. In relating this fat-free tale Ti West utilizes extremely
lengthy shots that often emphasize the scenery over the people in it, and sound
design that favors quiet above all else. The handheld camerawork enhances the
naturalistic aura of the piece, at times giving it a documentary feel. Far from
the standard action movie treatment you might expect, the film is closer to the
arty cinema of filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovsky and Alexander Sokurov.
The violence, however, is extremely strong and graphic, placing the
proceedings firmly in horror/exploitation territory. It all results in a movie
thatís fascinating and intense--and probably best viewed on a big screen. Like
the work of the arthouse masters referenced above, TRIGGER MAN needs a movie
theater venue to adequately weave its spell, which is lessened considerably on
Glass Eye Pix
Producers: Ti West, Peter Phok
Cast: Reggie Cunningham, Ray Sullivan, Sean Reid, Heather Robb, James Felix
McKenney, Larry Fessenden