Review: Triaphilia

Written and directed by Joshua Nelson, in a small store filled with antiques and curiosities called The Anointed Cherub, a charming proprietor convinces customers to purchase the items he feels are perfect for them. However, what they don’t know is that each item comes with a horrible consequence. Starring: Kenny Ledee, Rink Patel, Katie Raulerson, Ashley Laessig, Julia Wyrzuc, Mary Zaroura, Chelsea Rose Barreto, Saniye Reyhan, Jenn Nobile and Daniela Favaloro.

Triaphilia ticks a lot of familiar horror boxes, different stories linked by one catalyst, demonic objects and a healthy dose of naivety about the danger they’re putting themselves in. Although the good thing about horror has always been that you don’t need to follow any rules, so long as you commit to what you’re going for, anything goes. However, this film feels like it’s playing it too safe, it’s very stereotypically cheesy and awkward, it fails to embrace the darker or more violent side to its story. It’s particularly undercut by the disappointing female characters, several of them are almost insultingly dumb, these aren’t personalities that would be written by a woman. They create a poor, cliched male view of women which is a shame to still see being perpetuated on screen. It’s a distraction that prevents the story from holding a more fun or energetic quality, dragging things down.

The visual quality to the film is a little too structured or stiff, the shots are overly clean and close, which mostly means that it struggles to build an atmosphere. It doesn’t quite have the right combination of visual, sound and story to inject it with a sense of fear or foreboding. It occasionally throws a bit of variety and lighting into the mix to push the sinister side but it can’t quite blend enough with the cheesier side to make an impact.

It struggles similarly to build suspense or energy through its performances. They’re typically over the top and melodramatic, which can work but only with a fun, fast story to back them up but unfortunately it doesn’t. It’s hard to judge some of them as the writing is creating some harmful stereotypes and they can only work with what they’re given. There’s no standout, they’re all playing to a similar tune but at the same time it means there’s also none who are particularly memorable.

Triaphilia had a good idea that fits squarely into the horror canon but sadly doesn’t have enough fun with it to make this work. The atmosphere is overly cheesy and awkward, it doesn’t manage to grasp onto the comedy, violence or supernatural enough to make the most of its combination. There unfortunately isn’t enough to truly keep you invested even with its short run time.

Verdict: ✯

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