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Triaphilia (2021) Review

Triaphilia is the belief that bad things happen in threes. That makes it an appropriate title for writer/director Joshua Nelson’s (Psycho-Therapy, Menopause) collection of three horror shorts revolving around an antique store called The Anointed Cherub and its owner, appropriately listed in the credits as The Wicked One (Kenny Ledee).

The first story “The Demon” features Sal (Rink Patel, A Priest Walks Into a Bar) who is meeting his girlfriend Karen’s (Katie Raulerson, Hit-Man of La Mancha) parents for the first time. They stop into The Anointed Cherub so he can get a gift for them. Karen isn’t thrilled, that’s money he could have spent on her. The owner convinces them an antique mirror would be the perfect gift. But like so many mirrors in so many movies, this mirror is also a gateway.

Opening with a quote from Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx of all people, this gets Triaphilia off to a nice start. We get a creature, some gore and a funny performance from Vincent Caprio (Orderly Disorders) as Karen’s racist, overly macho father.

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“The Woman Scorned” is Martha (Esra Ozgun, Crazy Talk), the wife of a deceased serial killer. His ashes are sold to roommates Bonnie (Ashley Laessig, Meow Mixer), Jeanine (Julia Wyrzuc, Looking for Love in Lockdown), and Ruby (Mary Zaroura, Transfusion). When they won’t give them back, she turns to more forceful means.

While all three stories are enjoyable, “The Woman Scorned” suffers from some weak acting and the attempt to play Ashley Laessig’s character as a comic relief blonde bimbo/insatiable slut fails pretty badly. That’s mostly offset by a creepy performance by Esra Ozgun as the widow, who is as lethal as her departed spouse.

“Franklin” is the name of a young boy (Daniela Favaloro, How Can I Help You) who has just died, leaving his mother Susan (Jenn Nobile, Special) distraught. Her friends Zoe (Chelsea Rose Barreto, Address Unknown?) and Ronnie (Saniye Reyhan, Protecting Winter) get a trunk for her to pack his things in. But it already has something in it. A doll that knows way too much for any of their good.

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The last story is a bit heavier than the other two, revolving around child abuse and murder and takes Triaphilia out on a slightly grimmer note than the rest of the film. The doll featured in this segment, while not overly mobile, is creepy to look at.

The cursed antique store is far from an original idea. It’s been used in everything from Holiday Hell to Friday the 13: The Series, and most memorably, From Beyond the Grave with horror icon Peter Cushing as the shopkeeper. Triaphilia may not have the budget, cast, or guest directors to match them, but it certainly gives it a damn good try.

Each of Triaphilia’s segments runs about twenty minutes and the film itself is a fast seventy minutes, including a brief wrap-up and credits. And keeping it short is a smart move considering it looks to have been filmed on a tight budget and with a cast that ranges from quite good to horrible. A couple of the segments felt like they could have their dialogue rewritten or slightly trimmed, but it’s not a major issue.

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Nelson wisely made sure each of Triaphilia’s segments gets its share of effects as well. There’s nothing overly elaborate, but Tina Megan’s demon makeup is solid and there’s blood and effects in all three segments. It’s certainly an improvement over the many bloodless genre films out there.

An overall well-done anthology that’s worth an hour of your time, Triaphilia has been picked up for release by Bayview Entertainment. A date hasn’t been announced yet but you can check their website and Facebook page for updates.

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