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Case Number 14134

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Steel Trap

Dimension Films // 2007 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 25th, 2008

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All Rise...

You ever been caught in a steel trap before? Judge David Johnson has and trust him, it's not awesome.

The Charge

Surviving each floor is the name of the game.

Opening Statement

A group of jerks get suckered into a house of horrors operated by a madman with a grudge. They die.

Facts of the Case

At a glitzy New Year's party, five people are given cryptic invitations to what promises to be an awesome party. They find themselves on a seemingly abandoned floor of the building, a table strewn with decorations and clues to what appears to be a treasure hunt laid out before them.

Well, who doesn't like a treasure hunt? Not these people, who eagerly embark on what they think will be a hilarious, drunken fun time. As soon as the first clue leads to a decapitated pig's head, they start to realize that maybe this isn't the most innocuous of party games. And when they each start dying in gruesome ways, the fun really is sucked out of the room.

The Evidence

First things first. On the cover of the disc case is a picture of a woman making her way through an Indiana Jones-like corridor full of saw blades. Looks pretty cool, huh? Well the only play you're going to get with that scenario is if you daydream about it because it's not in the movie.

Shenanigans, I tell you! If I'm promised a corridor fill of saw blades then give me a corridor full of saw blades. Now here I am, in a lousy mood, denied my corridor full of saw blades fix, made all the more lousier because the film that promised me said saw blades is actually a disposable slasher knock-off with few redeeming qualities.

The way Steel Trap unfolds with its murder is little more than a straightforward, hunt-and-slash splatterfest. The killer here is a mute guy with a weird form-fitting face-mask. He looks like a department store mannequin. A department store mannequin—who kills. He's about as intimidating as these silent, unstoppable forces can be in horror movies. He can't be reasoned with, has the ability to be at all places at all times, lumbers around with sinister determination and loves to get his stab on. As far as horror heavies go, I'd grade Steel Trap Guy a C-.

Which is about what I'd give the movie itself. That is, slightly below average. When examined in the context of other Dimension Extreme titles (the studio that brought some truly f—-ed up stuff from overseas), Steel Trap easily registers as the tamest of the bunch. The kills are mild and unmemorable (again, in comparison to other titles released under the same banner; a girl gets her head chopped in half and that's certainly gruesome, but not as over-the-top as other stuff I've seen in Extreme releases).

Everything else is cookie-cutter: the protagonists/victims are irritating to the last and offer zero empathy when their whining asses are capped; the plot is the usual systematic-killing-off-of-the-cannon-fodder until the Mandatory Plot Twist, when the killer is unveiled and his or her intentions are revealed and you'll almost certainly be left chuckling at the inanity of it.

Tech specs: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital. Extras: commentary by director Luis Camara, a making-of featurette ad a still gallery.

Closing Statement

If you're looking for a Saw-like funhouse of horrors romp, you'll be disappointed. If, however, you're looking for a mediocre slasher outing—well, you'll still probably be disappointed.

The Verdict

Just go ahead and shut your Steel Trap.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 80
Acting: 70
Story: 0
Judgment: 66

Perp Profile

Studio: Dimension Films
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Bad
• Foreign
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Featurette
• Still Gallery


• IMDb

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