06th Jul2017

‘Trapped’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Stella Maeve, Evan Taubenfeld, Ashley Carin, Michael Madsen | Written by Harris Demel, Rob Greenberg | Directed by Harris Demel

[NOTE: With the film out on DVD here in the UK, here’s an extended review of Trapped, aka Flipped; which we originally reviewed back in April 2016 under the title Blood Rush]

trapped-dvd

Directed by Harris Demel, Trapped fixes on Nicole Diamond, an internationally-known model, who finds herself in an upside-down car in the middle of nowhere. In the passenger seat is her unconscious boyfriend, pop singer Scott Donnoly, a.k.a. Scotty Dee. Not a soul is around to help, and her legs are wedged under the dashboard. She’s trapped. Danger lurks everywhere, including a small fire under the car, wild animals in the vicinity, and the unknown, life-threatening physiological effects of hanging upside down indefinitely. With her damaged cell phone, she dials random numbers until she finally reaches someone willing to help – a mysterious man named Casey. However, she soon learns that roadside assistance is the last thing on Casey’s mind.

Running along similar themes as Iain Softley’s 2015 thriller Curve, Trapped takes a very similar premise and does pretty much the opposite of what Softley did with the high-concept idea. i.e. actually makes a decent, understated thriller. Why? Well because first-time director Harris Demel (this remains his only directorial credit) doesn’t try to hide the genre trappings of this film – his is an out and out thriller, not a thriller in drama clothing,  Trapped, plays up the tension rather than drama and there’s a real sense of claustrophobia too.

Demel’s film also has a more likeable leading lady in actress Stella Maeve, though Demel does try his damnedest to make Nicole a figure of hate, the flashbacks to her past life do nothing to earn her empathy – even if we’re supoosed to believe she’s suffering regret. But then there’s the villain… A man so evil and so toxic that Nicole looks saintly by comparison!

Casey, voiced by Michael Madsen (yes, just voiced – in a role that is up there with Madsen’s best on-screen performances), is a character who, shockingly, actually feels like an old-school horror villain – an evil voice on the end of the phone not a pretty boy psycho as seen in Softley’s film. And the games Casey plays with Nicole are as torturous as any Jigsaw plays in the Saw franchise, only his games are more of the mind variety.

Ultimatlye Trapped shares more in common single-locale horror such as Adam Green’s Frozen, and cat and mouse horror like the 1979 classic When a Stranger Calls, and is a fantastic horror thriller, backed by a tour-de-force perfromance from Michael Madsen, that puts bigger budget horror such as the aforementioned Curve, or the more recent Submerged for that matter, to shame. Which is probably the best compliment I can give.

Trapped is out now on DVD from Gilt Edge Media, exclusively at ASDA.

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