The Movie Waffler New Release Review - TRUNK | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - TRUNK

Trunk review
A young woman finds herself trapped in the boot of a car headed for a mysterious destination.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Marc Schießer

Starring: Sina Martens, Artjom Gilz, Luise Helm, Poal Cairo

Trunk poster

Trunk is a German movie about a woman trapped in the trunk of a car, and somehow they resisted calling it "Das Boot." If you've seen movies like Buried and Oxygen, you'll be familiar with this concept: a lone protagonist finds themselves trapped in a small, claustrophobic space and must fashion an escape before their time runs out.

Here we find twentysomething Malina (Sina Martens) waking up in the open boot of a stationary car with a groggy memory of how she ended up there. Attempting to flee, she discovers she can't feel her legs, but before the trunk is slammed shut she manages to retrieve her phone from a bag of her belongings dumped outside the car.

Trunk review

Using her phone, Malina dials 911 and is put in touch with emergency responder Elisa (Luise Helm), who does her best to help Malina survive her ordeal. Things are complicated by Malina having no details about the car beyond it being green in colour and missing one of its wing mirrors. As Malina attempts to contact family members and loved ones, some details of why she may have been abducted begin to emerge.

With large portions of the film centred on Malina's interactions with Elisa, the movie often plays like a reversal of the tense Danish thriller The Guilty (which was later remade as a not so tense American thriller). Helm manages to communicate a lot through her vocal performance, her pauses for breath making us question if she really believes what she's saying to reassure Malina. It's a clever touch that reminded me of how much tension is mined from the blinking cursors of the Unfriended movies.

Trunk review

As our distressed protagonist, Martens pulls off just the right balance of vulnerable victim and resourceful heroine. We learn early on that Malina has medical experience, which comes in handy as her body gets increasingly battered, and she's able to make clever MacGyver style use of the various bits of junk she finds in the trunk. At the same time it's clear Malina is in no position to overpower her kidnapper. There's a wonderful moment where said abductor taunts Malina, leading her to snarl at him before realising she has no real ability to fight him. Martens plays this brief moment of defiance and resignation in a manner that really makes us feel for Malina's predicament, and makes us question whether she might make it through after all.

Writer/director Marc Schießer keeps his debut feature cinematic through various devices, using digital camera footage to provide brief ambiguous flashbacks and a hole in the rear light to allow us to see the world outside. A To Live and Die in LA-esque flight through oncoming traffic as the car speeds down the wrong side of the autobahn is rendered nerve-wracking through this limited POV.

Trunk review

It may have been wise to set Trunk in the 2000s, as it never quite reckons with how modern technology would be incorporated into this scenario. The modern smartphone offers a myriad of options that Malina fails to exploit, such as livestreaming her ordeal or calling on the army of social media followers a young woman who looks like Martens would no doubt have amassed. There's one very clever trick late on involving a picture message weaponised by Malina, but otherwise she might just as well have been using a Nokia 3310 in 2001.

 is on Prime Video from January 26th.

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