New Years Eve Horror
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Steel Trap (2007)
31st Jan 09
Young media professionals are killed off in a skyscraper by a mysterious party host.
It's New Years Eve. When a seemingly random cross-section of young media professionals are partying hard on the top floor of a skyscraper, they each receive a text inviting them to a different party on the 27th floor. As they arrive individually at the new party venue, they notice that each person has a place tag with not only their name printed, but also a derogatory nickname (e.g. 'heatless', 'loser', 'pig', 'two-faced', you get the idea). From what we've seen of these young go-getters so far, the new nicknames are more than apt - these people are mostly either annoying or just plain nasty, so you'll find it hard to root for anyone, instead counting down the seconds so that they can meet their timely demise inside this big ‘steel trap’.
Sent by an unseen party host on a bizarre treasure hunt, the coke-sniffing twenty-somethings do what you would expect in such a routine movie by splitting up into small groups, and before you can say "I don't like this game anymore", we see the mysterious figure, dressed in black with a shiny mask, luring them individually into his heinous little game of slice ‘n dice. Before you can say, "no signal", they each realise their signals have been blocked and that there's no easy escape, and, slowly but surely, bodies start piling up. Before you can say, "maybe it's another trap", it probably is exactly that. I'm getting really bored now. The group start to fall apart as the stalker pitches them against each other, until only a couple remain to discover the identity and motive of this most ungracious host.
If you’re a horror novice who never watched stuff like the Saw series, the Cube series, or many other game-orientated horror movies, Steel Trap would probably do the trick. Unfortunately, it’s aimed straight at the kind of people who have seen it all before. It’s not even deliciously gory, instead concentrating on idiotic dialogue between these dislikeable idiots instead of letting the viewer revel in the slow and agonising deaths they deserve.
What’s more, you can pretty much predict how some characters are going to die. For example, Pam ‘Two Faced’ gets a big fat axe in the face, thus splitting her face in two. Geddit? It’s not big, or clever, but really wants to be and fails oh-so badly. The killer even uses nursery rhymes to give treasure hunt clues to the participants – where have I seen that before? Even if I hadn’t and was impressed by such a spooky tactic, it would soon fall flat when a dumb-ass character shouts, ”I got a nursery Rhyme for you! Fuck off!” A genius script this most certainly isn’t.
As with many a great horror movie, the killer’s identity and motive is a guessing game, and we’re not given much in the way of clues so when all is finally revealed in the last few minutes, it does come as a surprise. But how are we meant to take any of this seriously when the killer’s motive is so outrageously implausible? This is just so fucking desperate I couldn’t believe it...you won’t see it coming because, well, how could you? It’s like Hollyoaks does horror.
In its defence, the actors do the best they can with a lame script and the fact that they have little option but to play characters you want to see die. No-one is particularly bad here; merely uniformly bland. The killer does looks quite cool, though, before the great unmasking; a stalking figure who – you guessed it – walks but never runs, whose smooth, shiny mask brings to mind the T100 from T2 auditioning to play Michael Myers.
Luis Cámara’s direction can only be described as insipid, a word which generally describes nearly all aspects of this weak effort. Only the occasional good line and the pending reward of the final revelations kept me from falling asleep throughout, only to be kicked in the teeth for my efforts in the closing minutes. Don’t waste your time.