A lifeless ghost story dressed up in paranormal overkill, TBS’ “The Triangle” can’t overcome a leaden screenplay and awkward plotting — not to mention Luke Perry. A B movie in the truest sense of the genre, telepic is stuck in amateurville all the way, from special effects to casting. Cabler has always had a knack for schlocky made-fors (sister net TNT is the class act of the Turner family), but this one, co-exec produced by Chris O’Donnell, is particularly forgettable.
The Bermuda Triangle doesn’t get a lot of props when it comes to television movies. An unknown entity with an eerie history, it seems like more projects would be produced with the creepy waterway in mind. Not so, and that bodes well for this TV pic at the beginning; the logline — yuppies get lost at sea — sounds rather kitschy and fun. But stay tuned.
Four doomed thirtysomethings are led by Stuart (Perry), a snarky Chicagoan who has the girl (Polly Shannon) and the looks but can’t seem to get his finances in order. Poverty be damned, he keeps his promise to meet his two best friends in the Caribbean for their annual getaway: Tommy (Dan Cortese) is the hunky one, and Gus (David Hewlett) is the goofball.
When the reservation for a custom boat is botched, Stuart demands that a replacement be found. The only one available is a real lemon, a smoke-and-sputter granddaddy steered by Capt. Louis Morgan (Dorian Harewood) and his first mate, Charlotte (Olivia d’Abo).
They set sail, but when they get to their destination, the dinghy gives out, of course, and the Bermuda Triangle maintains its grasp on dopey people who think they can beat the curse.
Things go really haywire when the Queen of Scots, one of the most famous vessels ever to vanish, unexpectedly shows up. The stranded crew hops onboard, looks desperately for phones (still working after 80 years?), while Stu becomes a modern-day pirate who turns into a looter/murderer.
How six people get along despite the fear of being lost forever is a terrific study in human nature. It’s when everything shifts to the luxury cruise liner that “The Triangle” shows its true colors. While you would think everybody is afraid to become shark bait, these clowns are falling in love, hoarding gold and admiring the furniture.
As for the perfs, all players look terrific under the most dire circumstances. Cortese and d’Abo get the best roles, exhibiting supernatural behavior and mind-reading skills, but the lot just can’t get beyond the fact that they resemble MTV veejays. Harewood, as always, makes the most of a stately presence, but he’s balanced out by Perry, who continues to try to get by on a squint and little else.
Tech credits are uniformly unsound, most notably some on-the-cheap visual effects lowlighted by a final explosion. The poorly constructed money shot in which the evil ship sinks — in less than 10 seconds — is a real eyesore.