The Movie Waffler FrightFest 2019 Review - I TRAPPED THE DEVIL | The Movie Waffler

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FrightFest 2019 Review - I TRAPPED THE DEVIL

i trapped the devil review
A grieving man claims the man trapped in his basement is the Devil.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Josh Lobo

Starring: Scott Poythress, AJ Bowen, Susan Burke, Jocelin Donahue

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The idea of a vigilante abducting someone who may or may not have wronged them has been mined in everything from Roman Polanski's Death and the Maiden to Israeli drama Big Bad Wolves to this year's teen thriller #Like. You can go back even further to 1960 and the Twilight Zone episode 'The Howling Man' for a supernatural spin on this concept. In that episode of Rod Serling's classic anthology series, a man seeks refuge in a monastery only to find the monks are keeping a man chained in their basement whom they claim to be the Devil.


i trapped the devil review

Writer/director Josh Lobo's feature debut I Trapped the Devil owes a heavy debt to the aforementioned episode and the Charles Beaumont short story it's adapted from, though no credit of acknowledgement is offered. As its title suggests, it also sees a man who may or not be Old Nick being held as a prisoner, and like Beaumont's tale, his captor holds a belief that while the Devil remains imprisoned, the world will be free from evil.

[ Read more: FrightFest 2019 Review - The Dark Red ]

The captor in question is Steve (Scott Poythress), left alone to grieve over an ambiguous tragedy in his home in rural America. Worried over his mental state, Steve's brother Matt (AJ Bowen) and his wife Karen (Susan Theresa Burke) arrive to spend Christmas at his home. Steve is strangely perturbed by their presence and eventually confesses to Matt that he has found the man responsible for his tragic circumstances and is keeping him prisoner in his basement. He also believes that the man's body is simply a vessel for the Devil.


i trapped the devil review

What follows is an ongoing debate between Matt and Karen as they argue over how to handle the situation. They agree that Steve has lost the plot and that the man should be set free, but Matt doesn't want to see his brother go to prison. As this impasse continues, Matt and Karen begin to question whether Steve might be on to something, as there does seem to be something sinister about the unseen man entombed behind a wall in Steve's basement.

[ Read more: FrightFest 2019 Review - Feedback ]

'The Howling Man' is a cracking piece of TV, its story perfectly suited to both a confined, theatrical space and a limited running time. Stretching this premise out to feature length doesn't result in success however, at least not in this case. For a start, it's too much of a stretch for us to believe that Matt and Karen would react to the situation so calmly, and the script isn't convincing enough to sell the idea that they would spend so much time reasoning over how to deal with the unlikely quandary Steve has presented them.


i trapped the devil review

Tension and suspense are largely absent, replaced by an incessant low bass rumble that seems intent on telling us we should find the movie a lot more ominous and brooding than it really is. Lobo fails to find any way of injecting energy in his film, which plays out in flat and tiresome fashion, devoid of the sort of thrills necessary to keep us engaged. Ultimately, it's an unnecessary and unofficial big screen remake of a small screen chiller that did far more with its 25 minutes than this manages with its 82.

I Trapped the Devil is on Digital HD October 21st.


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