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Case Number 17139

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Trapped (1982)

Code Red // 1982 // 98 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 28th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson was trapped in his refrigerator yesterday. If only he paid closer attention to those PSAs from the '80s.

The Charge

When you're corned like an animal, it's either kill or be killed.

Opening Statement

True dat!

Facts of the Case

Four college friends decide to take a relaxing vacation in the woods. Little do they know, they're entering the heart of killer hillbilly country. See, in a small, jerkwater town lives a crazy dude named Henry (Henry Silva) who's married to a lovely, but promiscuous woman. She's constantly bedding other guys, and Henry's had enough. When the latest guy takes a piece, Henry tars and feathers the man, sets him loose in the forest, hunts him down, and kills him…giving the unsuspecting college students an eyeful. Despite their best efforts to report it to the authorities, they end up getting captured by Henry and his crew. Then they escape…and get captured again. When one of the friends makes a second escape, he takes it upon himself the pick off the rednecks, one by one.

The Evidence

This old-school "When Rednecks Go Wild" suspense thriller starts out slow and forces its characters to do dumbass things, but ultimately builds up enough momentum for a pretty badass final face-off to make it worth a look.

Trapped is more of an action/revenge flick than a horror film. Sure, a guy gets his leg stuck in a bear trap, and there's a masterpiece bit of Final-Bad-Guy-Death staging, but the film builds its tension primarily through the predicament these college kids get themselves into. Unfortunately, how they get themselves into this predicament nearly kneecaps the whole enterprise.

Take part in an intellectual experiment for second, will you? Let's say you and your friends are screwing around in the woods. You hear gunshots and see a crazed woodsman cap a guy drenched in tar. So, you make a beeline to the nearest police station, but strangely they're no help. It's almost as if—((gasp))—the deputy you just spoke with may be sympathetic to the killer. What's your next move? Demand to talk to a superior? Or go further up the rung to the Feds? Either way, you would definitely get the @#$% out of there, right? So would I.

Not these geniuses. No, to prove they weren't lying, they go back into the woods and walk into a cave to search for the body. You and I would likely be safe in our own houses, while the FBI laid siege to the town with mortar fire. But our heroes willingly and stupidly walk straight back into trouble.

Hence "Trapped," though a more accurate title for the film would be Trapped Because We're Idiots. Following this inanity, and the ensuing sequences where the gang anguishes in a cellar, the film slows down considerably. Not all the townsfolk are down with Henry and his psychotic malevolence, so there are extended scenes where the town elders talk to him. Boring.

Eventually, things get hairy again. This where Roger (Nicholas Campbell), the lone escapee, brings home the violence. The throwdown between him and Henry is legitimately cool, culminating in a pretty awesome, multi-part death scene.

Code Red poured its attention into the technical merits of the disc: the anamorphic widescreen is surprisingly good for such an old film, and the 1.0 mono sound is…well, not good. Okay, maybe half their attention was poured into the technical merits. No extras.

Closing Statement

Uneven, sure, and the pace is all over the place, but for the psycho hillbilly genre, this is a decent performer.

The Verdict

Not much separates this from a Guilty/Not Guilty verdict, but I love the end death scene so much Trapped gets a slap on the wrist. Back to the hills with ya!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 60
Extras: 0
Acting: 70
Story: 75
Judgment: 74

Perp Profile

Studio: Code Red
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
• None
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1982
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Cult
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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