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By Alan Ng | September 26, 2022

Will the intense division in this country lead to an inevitably violent outcome? Director Tara Westwood and writer Thomas Dunn, intentionally or not, explore this idea in their short crime drama Triggered.

The setup is simple. Virginia (Caitlin Mehner) and Ohio (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) storm into the home of a United States Senator. Senator Heidi (Tara Westwood), and her husband, David (Robert John Burke), are both home, along with their two boys, who’re sleeping upstairs. Virginia and Ohio are not there to rob the place but to exact justice. What the pair have in common is they lost their loved ones to mass shootings and gun violence, and Heidi voted against gun control legislation that could have prevented their deaths.

“Virgina and Ohio storm into the home of a United States Senator.”

Virginia and Ohio have been pushed to their limits and grown tired of nothing being done in Washington. They want Heidi to feel their pain in the worst way. It’s crystal clear that Triggered is making the political statement that people are tired of mass shootings, and as the victim list continues to grow, drastic measures must be taken. We’re beyond thoughts, prayers, and civility at this point.

The short does precisely what it set out to do. It gets right in the audience’s face and force them to do something. The performances of our leads are close to perfect, particularly Caitlin Mehner and Tara Westwood. They bring a great deal of authenticity to their roles without ever crossing that line to melodrama or outright propaganda.

As a story, this short is a compelling, powerful, and might I say, triggering piece. It sports a premise you might find in big Hollywood films but uses a very current conflict. Personally, I’ve not gotten myself to that point where violence is the answer, whether you’re storming a Senator’s home or the Capitol. I pray we haven’t. Suffice it to say. You’ll be thinking about Triggered long after the credits role.

For screening information, visit the Triggered Instagram page.

Triggered (2022)

Directed: Tara Westwood

Written: Thomas Dunn

Starring: Caitlin Mehner, Tara Westwood, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Robert John Burke, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Triggered Image

"…a compelling, powerful, and, might I say, triggering piece."

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