David James Elliott
Heather Marie Marsden
A healthy 83 mins
Torture porn in a hotel
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Terror Trap (2011)
2nd Mar 11
It’s Hostel meets Vacancy.
A bickering couple Don (David James Elliot) and Nancy (Heather Marie Marsden) end up in a grotty motel courtesy of their car breaking down and the local Sheriff (Jeff Fahey) gruffly takes them there. The standard of the motel is far from the best but given their circumstances and that it’s just for one night they decide to brave it out.
They appear to not be the brightest of people as they appear unbothered that none of the motel rooms have doors that can be locked nor unnerved when they spot fresh blood on their motel room wall. They even put down a woman’s screams in the adjacent room to being over-amorous. Quite what world Don and Nancy are living in is surely one of their own. Most people would be running around about now but then where would the movie go without our main couple to torment.
Eventually Don and Nancy FINALLY suss that they just might be killed before the night is through and that elsewhere their situation is being watched. They needn’t worry though as neither really appears to be in any real danger at all.
It’s true that masked bad guys take to axing their motel room door or chasing them about the moment they attempt to leave the relative safety of their room but never ever at any point is any real harm done to them till towards the climax. Are our bad guys just toying with Don and Nancy? If so it is badly done, instead they just look incompetent.
In case we have forgotten we are watching a horror flick writer/director Dan Garcia ensures that elsewhere in the motel pretty young ladies are hacked up – normally off camera and there’s a wodge of screaming beauties all scantily dressed tied up together that really add nothing to the plot at all. Such additions are merely window-dressing and bad padding for another wise poorly structured flick that feels like two movies competing within the framework of one very short one.
In one movie we have Dan and Nancy the standard arguing couple that remember they love each other really when someone starts waving an axe in their faces. In the second we have Michael Masden as Carter. Carter runs the motel and Fahey’s Sheriff reports to him as do the torturers and killers that help put on a show for paying viewers. With the movie sold on the cult appeal of Mr. Masden one would quite rightly expect him to feature more than the ten minutes or so his total screen running time lasts. Masden cackles and waves a gun around as he notches up another movie dud that pushes fond memories of his appearances in Reservoir Dogs and the Kill Bill down deep under a career CV dripping in dross.
Masden’s appearance jars with the general tone set up elsewhere although his name alone will ensure this gets rented a good few times nonetheless. In terms of real menace that comes courtesy of the former Lawnmower Man and Lost star Jeff Fahey. No stranger to the horror genre with Psycho III and Planet Terror to his credit Fahey is suitably rugged and unhinged.
There’s a lot going on here, including people paying to watch from a hidden room, although quite why in this day and age of internet viewing they couldn’t just do the same from the safety and anonymity of home just beggars belief. It’s not like they are interacting or performing the killings. They are still watching from a safe distance so their being there makes little or no sense at all.
In fact Terror Trap makes no real sense at all - bad guys axe the door when the windows are surely easier to get into – despite their motel room being easily opened neither Dan or Nancy consider putting the chain across or something heavy in front of it – the list could go on and on.
We are tipped off that Dan used to be in the forces. He talks about having slept in worst places than this motel (really?) so you just KNOW that his former training is going to kick in at some point. It’s a shame it took so long. Surely his training would tip him off that something really isn’t quite right there at the motel, but no!
There are two unnecessary endings just to pad out the running time and give Masden fans more to get excitable over. All the while though you are reminded that Vacancy is a much better film and it’s not often you hear someone say that about a movie starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale.