Trigger Warning (2024) Movie Review – Caution: This Netflix movie might put you to sleep

Caution: This Netflix movie might put you to sleep

Trigger Warning is aptly named as it’s the kind of film that should come with its own trigger warning – one that lets viewers know that they might become distressed by the film if they can’t stand to watch something that is badly acted, poorly scripted, and mind-numbingly boring. 

It’s a pity the film is so bad as it could have been the comeback vehicle Jessica Alba needed after years of wandering around in the acting wilderness. That being said, Alba, who is capable of good work, as evidenced by her role as Nancy in Sin City, doesn’t deliver the best of performances in this new Netflix film. She’s reasonably convincing in some of the action scenes but in the film’s more dialogue-heavy moments, she rarely breathes life into her character.

The fault doesn’t entirely lie at Alba’s feet though. The dialogue she is required to speak rarely comes off as authentic, so this may be why she struggled to do a lot with the script she was handed. The film’s other actors, including Anthony Michael Hall, Mark Webber, and Gabriel Basso,  don’t come off very well either. These are all capable performers but with characters as one-note as the people they have been asked to portray, it’s perhaps of little surprise that their talents weren’t able to shine through.

In terms of plot, the movie is centred around a Special Forces Operative named Parker (Alba) who returns to her hometown when she hears her father has died. Sheriff Jesse (Webber) suspects her dad may have killed himself by causing a cave-in at a nearby mine. But Parker suspects foul play and spends the movie trying to get to the bottom of her father’s death.

It’s not long before Parker runs afoul of a local thug named Elvis (Jake Weary) who has somehow gotten his hands on military-grade weapons. How he got these weapons becomes the focus of a subplot that is almost too ridiculous for words. Tied into all this is Elvis’s father Ezekiel, the local Senator who is predictably corrupt and keen to keep Parker away from his business. Could he be involved in her father’s death? The answer won’t surprise you!

Alba isn’t known for her action roles – even in the Fantastic Four movies, she didn’t do much more than stand around and look pretty while Reed stretched his muscles and Johnny lit his flames! But in this film, she acquits herself well in the movie’s action scenes, being as adept at hand-to-hand combat as she is with a blade. 

When Parker is kicking bad guy butt, the movie momentarily springs into life. But these moments are few and far between for much of the story, until the climax when there’s a full-on battle between Parker, the local lowlifes, and a group of terrorists who descend on the town for reasons that you won’t really care about. 

Indonesian director Mouly Surya has made some very good films back in her home country, including the thriller ‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’ which was Indonesia’s submission for the Academy Awards. Unfortunately, she fails to inject a lot of energy into Trigger Warning, her English language debut, perhaps because she, like the actors, had little enthusiasm for the script she was working from.

Surya films much of the movie like a low-rent television production, with a limited budget and little evidence of creativity in her direction. That said, she makes good use of the Mexican scenery in the locations where the film is set. But as this is an action movie and not a travelogue, I wish she had put as much effort into the stunt sequences as she did in capturing the desolate beauty of the local landscape. 

On the surface, Trigger Warning should be the kind of movie that a franchise can be built on, with Alba as the next female action star in the making. But sadly, the chances of there being a sequel are very unlikely, as I can’t see many people wanting to see a follow-up to a movie this poor. The plotting is illogical, the actors often appear bored, and the characters are paper thin. Even those looking for a few thrills on a Friday night Netflix binge are going to be disappointed with this film, as there are moments when the melodrama overtakes the action. 

As such, Trigger Warning is a movie to skip. There are far better female action movies out there – Atomic Blonde, Salt, The Woman King – so consider one of those instead of this by-the-numbers misfire that has more holes in it than one of the smalltown creeps that Alba’s character sticks her knife in.


Read More: Trigger Warning – Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 3/10

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