GenreDrama, Thriller Budget8 million USD CountryUnited States
Release dateAugust 30, 1996 (1996-08-30) Based onConnections
by James Burke WriterJames Burke (television series Connections), David Koepp CastKyle MacLachlan (Matthew), Elisabeth Shue (Annie), Dermot Mulroney (Joe), Richard T. Jones (Raymond), Bill Smitrovich (Steph), Michael Rooker (Gary) Similar movies2012, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Butterfly Effect, Sinister, '71, Southland Tales
TaglineWhen Nothing Works, Anything Goes.
The trigger effect trailer 1996
The Trigger Effect is a 1996 American thriller film written and directed by David Koepp and starring Kyle MacLachlan, Elisabeth Shue and Dermot Mulroney. The film follows the downward spiral of society during a widespread and lengthy power outage in Southern California.
A blackout struck the town of Annie (Elisabeth Shue) and Matthew (Kyle MacLachlan), a young couple with a sick infant. Not long, the couple started to abide the law in order to protect themselves and to steal some medicine for their sick child. The power stayed out for several days that cause the society to erupt with violence. The couple, with their friend Joe (Dermot Mulroney), decided to flee to Annie's parent's house. During the long trip they needed to stop in an abandoned car in order to steal gasoline, but Joe was shot by a man who is guarding the car. Matthew desperately calls help in a near by farmhouse, but still failed because of lack of trust. Matthew confronted the man while holding a shotgun and a commotion started which ended when the man's little daughter entered the room. The man agreed to help Matthew. After several days the power return and so the society returned to its normal stated, though Matthew's family and his neighbors are somewhat different because of their experiences on the blackout.
Kyle MacLachlan as Matthew
Elisabeth Shue as Annie Kay
Dermot Mulroney as Joe
Bill Smitrovich as Steph
Michael Rooker as Gary
Richard T. Jones as Raymond
Jack Noseworthy as Prowler
Richard Schiff as Gun shop clerk
The Trigger Effect was released on August 30, 1996. It grossed $1.9 million on its opening weekend and opened in 12th place. It went on to earn $3.6 million in the US. It was released on VHS in January 1997.
Rotten Tomatoes reports that 75% of 24 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.4/10. Ken Eisner of Variety described it as "a bleak, highly stylized view of modern civilization" that is too didactic and obvious. Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Koepp knows more about setting up this gripping, high-concept crisis than about where it leads." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly rated it a letter grade of B and wrote that the ending is disappointingly safe compared to the riskier narrative prior to it.