Terror Trap DVD Review
Written and Directed by Dan Garcia
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 86 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 28th February 2011
David James Elliott as Don
Heather Marie Marsden as Nancy
Jeff Fahey as Cleveland
Michael Madsen as Carter
Andrew Sensenig as Jonas Ruggins
Torture porn – if I dare use that contentious phrase – has become a staple part of the genre since it was popularised by the Hostel films. The idea that people will pay to watch, or even partake in, the suffering and death of others, is a theme that has become far too prevalent in modern horror. And it is lazy horror. Most of these films have a bunch of underworld villains, selling the Grande Guignol spectacles to the highest bidder. I suppose it’s like Disneyland for the terminally perverted.
Your average snuff-for-sale movie will feature buckets of blood at the expense of the unfortunate and reluctant stars of the show. An easy sell to the less-than-discerning audience that only wants its entertainment wet and red.
All of which brings us neatly to Terror Trap, the latest instalment in a continual cycle of ingenuity-bereft, lowest common denominator-pleasing, celluloid offal. You can be pretty much certain of the standard on offer when Michael “Straight to Video” Madsen gets top billing, or a billing of any kind for that matter. He’s Carter, the head of some kind of crime operation that deals in trafficked humans to be killed for a paying audience. He probably has a funky name for his outfit, like Carter’s Crime Cartel or something.
One of his entertainment venues is The Motel Royal Vista, a roadside stop that is far from royal and has no vista to speak of. When people break down or have accidents nearby, they’re directed to the motel by the corrupt local sheriff who is on Carter’s payroll. And when hapless tourists are looking like they’ll make it through the area unscathed, they get rammed off the road by Carter’s men. His business is blood and business is good.
This fate is one served up to Don and Nancy, a continually bickering couple that get a busted car and a free night in a shitty motel as reward for not keeping their eyes on the road. You’d think the greasy hotel receptionist who doesn’t “see many strangers round these parts” might rouse their suspicion when he gives them a room at no charge. But no, Don and Nancy accept and then proceed to bemoan the state of the facilities to each other. Hell, how many motels give you a huge mirror, big enough to hide a live studio audience behind and blood on the walls, all without charging a penny to your credit card?
Soon enough the couple next door begins making murder noises (which Don and Nancy assume to be sex noises), so brave Don goes to investigate. It’s quite fun to watch how the film reveals information a little snippet at a time, trying to build up the story when, in reality, if you’ve seen Vacancy or have even half a brain, you’ll have a full picture of the endgame from the moment they pull up in the car park.
Need I go on? People get cut up, blood is spilled and Don and Nancy fight for their lives. If brainless and blood-soaked movies appeal, then Terror Trap will fit the bill just nicely. If you like your horror a little more cerebral, then you might be worth checking into another motel.
Video and Audio:
Video is rock solid with a nice amount of film grain. Despite taking place mostly at night, there is no sign of any pixellation and the blacks are nice and rich. The 5.1 Audio does a thoroughly respectable job and a 2.0 track is also available.
Not a sausage. Surprising when the feature is delivered on a dual layer DVD.