A blackout in a Southern California suburb is a catalyst that brings out the worst in three friends in The Trigger Effect.

The passion has gone out of the marriage of Matt (Kyle MacLachlan), and Annie (Elisabeth Shue). With no power or phone service, Matt goes to the drugstore to get some medicine for his infant daughter's ear infection. When the pharmacist refuses to give him the medicine, Matt steals it. He has crossed the line.

Tensions escalate at home when Joe (Dermot Mulroney) joins them during the blackout. He convinces them to get a gun for safety. When a neighbor guns down a looter, the threesome decide to leave town. On the road, they run up against further evidence of the violence that runs rampant when people are put in desperate straits.

Written and directed by David Koepp, this psychological thriller shows the selfish and bestial impulses that lie just beneath the surface of our civilized veneer. A surprising twist at the end of the story proves that the filmmaker identifies with the view of human nature espoused by Vaclav Havel who has written, "I am not an optimist, because I am not sure that everything ends well. Nor am I a pessimist, because I am not sure that everything ends badly. I just carry hope in my heart."