The Movie Waffler First Look Review - THE HUMAN TRAP | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - THE HUMAN TRAP

The Human Trap review
A group of camping teens are abducted by a mad doctor.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Lee Moon-young

Starring: Kim Dong-ho, Byeol Kang, Park Yeon-woo, Song Young-gyu, Kang Seung-hyun

The Human Trap poster

At a cafe at night Ki-Young (Song Young-gyu) and Ji-ae (Kang Byul) are exchanging pleasantries over coffee when Ji-ae makes her intentions known to the shocked young man. Their plans for intimacy however are put on hold when Ki-Young answers a call from his friend who encourages him to go camping in the woods. Ji-ae volunteers to go camping with him and suggests that is where the sex will take place. He readily agrees.

Fast forward to the day of the camping trip and the "couple" are  joined by Ki-Young's friends - camping enthusiast and inviter Jeong-Ho (Park Yeon-woo), and Chae-Rim (Kang Seung-hyun). Jeong-Ho asks  Ki-Young why he invited girls along, and he explains that it's not okay for two men to go camping together. News to me!

The Human Trap review

The mysterious Dr Ma shows up after they run into some car trouble, and leads them to the campsite. Meanwhile, the story is occasionally interrupted with scenes featuring a poor persecuted man running for his life through another set of woods. He is being hunted… And it seems that the "good" doctor has something to do with it.

Once arrived they are left alone to get to know each other. There's some banter and camaraderie but Ji-ae doesn't quite fit in and finally resorts to saying mysterious things like "It hurts to be sober" as she chainsmokes crouched in the snow.

The guys plot their nights of "romance" while the women have an uneasy feeling they're not alone at the campsite.

The Human Trap review

After the mystery man in the woods accosts their camp and steals their belongings, our desperate campers are forced to learn more about each other as they wait for morning to arrive.

The newly partnered Jeong-Ho (who reluctantly agrees to be Chae-Rim's boyfriend), nursing injuries, bonds with Ji-ae over dying parents only minutes after she held scissors to the throat of a sleeping Ki-Young. And this is when things get twisty with flashbacks revealing nuance and viewpoints previously unknown.

The bloody shenanigans of the second half of the film are surprising, clever and nihilistic in the best possible way; indeed, it made me want to watch it all over again from the beginning.

The Human Trap review

Performances are solid across the board with Kang Byul particularly strong as the troubled Ji-ae. The wintry landscapes and visceral thrills are to be commended, as is the music, which subtly lends support to the WTF fest unfolding on the screen. It's also competently directed by Lee Moon-young, who has a knack for utilising the whole screen in his story-telling.

The highest praise should be reserved for the script (also by Moon-young), which shows restraint in how and when it ekes out more information, and knows how to balance tone perfectly.

This is great fun without being stupid. It's smart and compelling and doesn't skimp on the blood.

Two thumbs up!

The Human Trap is on VOD from January 11th.

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