Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Evil Dead Trap (1988)
Evil Dead Trap is an outrageous, bloody entertaining cult Japanese horror flick from 1988. It is a far from perfect film, but it kept me entertained!
Late-night talk show host Nami (Miyuki Ono) features a segment on her show where she plays viewers’ home videos. After a lame round of entries, she receives an unmarked tape that features a tied-up woman getting tortured and killed. Not sure if it’s real or not, she rounds up her faithful crew and tracks down the abandoned building that was featured in the video. They split up to find any evidence of the murder being real, but soon find themselves stalked by a masked killer who kills in gruesome fashion.
I really wasn’t expecting much out of this movie, but it sure was a treat! There are many scenes and set pieces that are reminiscent of the direction of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Sam Raimi and even David Cronenberg. Director Toshiharu Ikeda obviously took a cue from these directors to craft a stylish and well-shot film, while not skimping on the gore. The Fulci influence is evident in the opening scene where a woman’s eyeball gets skewered, as well as in following murder scenes such as where another woman becomes a human shish-kabob. Argento’s influence can be seen in the set-up and framing of different shots as well as in the score. Raimi’s influence can be seen in the way the camera moves and follows the action. The last part of the film is purely Cronenberg, with some definite “body horror” going on. Despite all these influences, Evil Dead Trap doesn’t feel like a rip-off at all, but more of an entertaining mish-mash of different directors’ styles.
Ikeda’s direction, the set-pieces and the gore are what stand out most in this film. The acting is okay, but no one really stands out, though the actors do hold their own. They definitely expressed terror pretty well and the death scenes were all very believable.
The story seems like the typical, cookie-cutter slasher…a group of young people are stuck in an abandoned place and are violently dispatched by a masked killer. As each of them is killed, a lone heroine emerges who, instead of running, turns to fight the killer. The ending is where the film veers off into strange, Japanese monster territory. The ending is so outrageous and unexpected that it doesn’t quite fit into the rest of the film and it did dampen my viewing pleasure. Yet, its strangeness is what makes the film that much more endearing.
The death scenes are extremely well done and the characters get very varied deaths. Gorehounds will delight in the fountains of blood and the different devices that the killer uses for each character’s death. The majority of the cast is female, and of course they receive the most brutal and grisly deaths, while the lone male suffers an off-screen beheading.
Speaking of female treatment in this film, there is one horribly awkward rape scene that just seemed completely out of place and dragged on and on. It was so bad that I couldn’t even tell it was a rape scene at the beginning. There’s another sex scene set in one of the abandoned buildings that seemed pretty out of place too and kinda halted the action of the film.
Despite these quibbles, I found myself wholeheartedly enjoying Evil Dead Trap! If you love strange and gory foreign horror flicks, I would highly recommend Evil Dead Trap!
Buy Evil Dead Trap!