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Spirit Trap

First Look Pictures // R // December 19, 2006
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted January 14, 2007 | E-mail the Author
The Movie

According to Dictionary.com, the word "conventional" means "based on or in accordance with general agreement, use, or practice; customary; conforming to established practice or accepted standards; devoted to or bound by conventions to the point of artificiality; unimaginative; conformist. (I italicized the most important ones.)

If I told you that the British horror flick Spirit Trap was about five college kids who move into a disgusting old house, your first reaction would be "OK, so what's the hook? Co-eds and a creepy house? That's it? You gotta be kidding me." And yet I'm not kidding. Basically, Spirit Trap is the cinematic equivalent of a glass half-filled with lukewarm water: You can swallow it with very little effort, but it sure isn't very tasty -- nor is it very memorable.

Frankly movies this basic make it pretty hard for a reviewer to expound upon them, but I'll try: There's a haunted clock. Yes, not since the legendary Amityville 1992: It's About Time has there been a more blandly ignorable haunted house/clock movie. Aside from an early appearance by Doctor Who's Billie Piper, Spirit Trap has next to nothing worth selling to a potential audience, and I'm kind of amazed that the thing actually got theatrical distribution in the UK. (I thought our teeny-bopper horror flicks were bad!) OK, Luke Mably is the leading man, which means that all the girls who loved him in The Prince & Me now have one extra lame-ass horror movie to squeal over next time they visit Blockbuster.

The screenplay (which, astonishingly, needed three separate writers -- two of which contributed "additional material") is a ceaseless outpouring of stock characters, predictable jolts, and age-old plot conventions -- and it certainly doesn't help that first-time director David Smith exhibits the visual flair of a toothpaste commercial.

Subplots about drug trafficking, extra-sensory powers and bland old family secrets get lobbied across the dusty house as the performers struggle with their cobwebbed dialogue. By the time the big finale shows up, you'll be absolutely thrilled; it's a harbinger of the end credits.

The DVD

Audio/Video: The widescreen transfer is just solid enough to make Spirit Trap look like a real movie; audio is delivered in a basic DD 5.1 format. Optional subtitles are available in Spanish.

Extras: You'll find approximately 10 minutes of cast interviews, basic "talking head" segments that add nothing to the appreciation of the movie ... but the girls sure are pretty. Also included are the trailers for Spirit Trap, Mr. Fix It, Relative Strangers, and A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

Final Thoughts

The tag lines for Spirit Trap are "Behind These Walls Lies a Deadly Secret" and "The Ultimate Confinement is Fear!"

Sadly, those two sentences pretty much sum up everything you need to know about the movie: They're obvious, silly and blander than dry toast.

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