The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - THE SNARE | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - THE SNARE

A weekend trip to a small coastal town leads to terror for a trio of holiday-makers.

Review by Sue Finn (@fountainclown)

Directed by: CA Cooper

Starring: Eaoifa Forward, Dan Paton, Rachel Warren

Many tangents go unexplored; story threads seemingly picked up and dropped at a whim, adding nothing worthwhile to a film that needed some direction and a much firmer hand.

Alice, Lizzy and her boyfriend Carl head off to a holiday flat for a weekend away. It's on the top floor of a 13 floor apartment block in an almost deserted coastal town, and no one knows they’re going there. What could possibly go wrong?

They have a first night of uneasy fun; the tension between them stretched thinly as Alice, the third wheel, tries and fails to be ‘normal’ when clearly her issues are many, and they are affecting her every interaction with the couple and indeed, the outside world. Upon awakening the next day they discover that the lifts are broken, the stairs are sealed shut, the phones don’t work and they are, for all intents and purposes, trapped in that lonely high-rise apartment with no one looking for them and food fast running out. There’s also the possibility that they may not be as alone as they had first thought.

This is the premise of the new indie horror from writer/director C.A Cooper, who has usually been employed as a cinematographer but branches out here into directing his first feature length film.

The ideas are good; there are so many possibilities for where this story can go, particularly with the obviously unstable Alice unraveling by the second. The ‘fun’ of these kinds of disaster horrors such as Adrift, Frozen, and Cujo etc. is thinking about how you would react in those circumstances.

The problem here is that the characters behave in ways that no rational person would.

Strangely uneven, the beginning is set at glacial pace and the reactions to what happened veer from wildly and preemptively over the top, to less motivated than perhaps they should be.

The supernatural elements are unsuccessful, never believable as another possible threat, but rather they always seem to be projections from a severely troubled mind.

Many tangents go unexplored; story threads seemingly picked up and dropped at a whim, adding nothing worthwhile to a film that needed some direction and a much firmer hand.

The actors (Eaoifa Forward as troubled Alice, Dan Paton as Chav Carl and Rachel Warren as party girl Lizzy) do their best with these patchy characters, with all three giving solid performances, better than expected.

Unfortunately the main character of Alice was not well written; Cooper choosing to make her subdued to the point of sullen near-muteness, her thoughts and reactions complete mysteries to the audience. It's hard to imagine a world where these three people would actually be friends, and if you’re not onboard from the beginning then your acceptance of the progressions of this film is challenged at best.

There is also a moment when Carl does something so horrendously out of character and so nasty that it takes you out of the film entirely; engineered, as it seems to be, purely to drive the narrative towards a horrific development that feels shoehorned into the plot. Unnecessary and ludicrous, it will push the audience even further away.

This scene is then compounded by having Alice commit a crime that seems to also come out of nowhere. Perhaps better-written characters would’ve allowed for more nuance, but as it is, these scenes feel like moves designed to push the chess pieces about rather than logical actions of well developed protagonists.

There are so many places this film could have gone - trap a killer in with them, make the apartment haunted, show the attempts to escape, delve into the practical sides of surviving such as toileting/eating/finding inventive ways to survive; at least show the progression of time in a more accessible way.

It’s a shame the filmmaker chose instead to create a cheap and exploitive movie that only succeeds in making the audience simultaneously uncomfortable and bored.

The dream sequences are effective, but regrettably that is this flick's only real strength.

This film needed levity, warmth, connection, some measure of lightness and hope - otherwise it's just an endurance test.

It is too dark, too depressing, too relentlessly punishing to be in any way an enjoyable movie.

The Snare is on VOD January 6th 2017.