Now that Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to get back to the myriad of non-holiday titles that are out there. I happened to get a delivery from an eBay order today, so it seemed like the perfect film to throw on and share with you all… as strange as that experience may have turned out to be. The film in question is Toshiharu Ikeda’s Evil Dead Trap.
Nami is the host of a late night television show that focuses on viewer-submitted content. Just like any other day, a videotape shows up for her approval. The tape isn’t any ordinary submission, however, depicting the violent and gruesome death of a woman who happens to look an awful lot like Nami. Now, in hopes of boosting her ratings, an eager Nami grabs a few of her co-workers to further investigate the origin of this mysterious footage.
As Nami and her team explore the premises, they realize they are in way over their heads and this whole thing may have been a trap from the very start. One by one, they are separated from each other and murdered in brutal and peculiar ways.
I have a very strange relationship with Asian horror cinema; There are a lot of films that I’ve seen over the years that I’ve really enjoyed — The Host, I Saw the Devil, etc.. Then there are the ones that left me more confused than I’ve ever been. I don’t know if my imagination isn’t up to par with these directors or if perhaps something is lost in translation, but, more often than not, I’m left scratching my head.
Baring no resemblance to the similarly titled Sam Raimi film(s), Evil Dead Trap falls somewhere in between the whole “really enjoyed it” and “really confused by it” spectrum.
There are a lot of positives to speak on here; Visually, the film is akin to something Dario Argento would whip up. Bright colors, dreamlike sequences, and unique cinematography all lend a hand in making Evil Dead Trap an aesthetically wonderful film experience.
The score isn’t your typical scary movie soundtrack. With multiple pieces repeating throughout the film’s 102 runtime, I can’t help but be reminded of the “Tales From the Darkside” theme or, more randomly, an old-school Trent Reznor produced Nine Inch Nails track.
Evil Dead Trap is a slasher film with imagination. Before any of the Saw films were even a thought in the minds of James Wan and Leigh Whannell and the filmmakers to continue the series after them, Toshiharu Ikeda and writer, Takashi Ishii, were thinking up creative ways to trap and kill their victims.
Although the body count is low, at around only four or five, the deaths we get are pretty damn great. Keep in mind, too, that this 1988 film was made during the golden age of horror, before we became inundated with awful CGI. Everyone is executed brilliantly and viciously with practical make-up effects.
While the third act takes a turn into the strange parts of Asian cinema, Evil Dead Trap is still a worthwhile watch. I didn’t know what the hell was going on at a certain point, but I was surprisingly okay with that.
If you are a fan of Asian horror films and don’t mind a bit of a slower pace, Evil Dead Trap is a film for you. I was lucky enough to score a copy on DVD, originally released by Synapse Films, for a fairly good price. Maybe you will have the same luck and be able to do so, as well. Check eBay, your local used video stores [if those even still exist], or thrift shops… you might find your very own copy!
Evil Dead Trap has earned itself a Repulsive Rating of 3 wire nooses out of 5 from yours truly.