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Evil Dead Trap
Year: 1988
Director: Toshiharu Ikeda
Writer: Takashi Ishii
Cast: Miyuki Ono, Fumi Katsuragi, Hitomi Kobayashi, Eriko Nakagawa, Yuji Honma, Shinsuke Shimada
The Skinny: A latenight TV show hostess takes four co-workers out to investigate a snuff video she receives from a fan. The tape turns out to be a trap set by the killer to bring victims to his lair.

     Nami (Miyuki Ono) is the host of a late night television show that shows home videos of its viewers. One night, she receives a tape from a fan that shows a woman being tortured and killed. Feeling that it could help legitimize her career, Nami takes four of her co-workers to investigate the tape. The group ends up at an old abandoned military installation and one by one, they discover the horrible truth behind the tape.
     Evil Dead Trap owes a lot to Italian horror director Dario Argento. Despite being largely ignored in the U.S. until the advent of DVD, Argento's classics of the seventies and eighties enjoyed great popularity in Japan, and their influence is undoubtedly here. The roving camera moves, the odd angles, the muted color palette, the pulsing musical score and the over the top gore are all straight out of Argento's work. Fans of Suspiria will even note the maggot-in-the-hair-scene as a direct rip-off.
     However, Evil Dead Trap does manage to carve its own path through the genre with a few surprises of its own. All the way up to the last act, you think you're going to get a standard slasher pic, and then you're taken down a very strange and different road. The end of this film is bizarre to say the least, and lends a new perspective on all that preceded it. Instead of having the killer reveal his motivations at the end of the film, we are told very little about how or why everything is happening. A supernatural (or preternatural, depending on one's point of view) relationship between the killer and the killer's brother is left disturbingly ambiguous. It's what you don't fully understand that creeps you out after the credits roll.
      Also improved upon is the slow clunky dialogue, which plagued many of Argento's films. The plot of Evil Dead Trap moves at the speed of sound. Gone are the drawn out scenes of characters discussing their predicament. Who needs those when there are pretty eyeballs to puncture? This film definitely knows where its priorities are. It's definitely not for the squeamish or for those looking for a cerebral experience. Like the films that influenced it, Evil Dead Trap is a rollercoaster ride of blood and mayhem, with characters becoming isolated and disposed of in various gruesome ways. Don't let the film's early predictability get you down—the surprise ending is well worth the wait. (Magicvoice 2003)


Region 1 NTSC
Synapse Films
Japanese Language Track
Removable English Subtitles Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen