The Snare Movie Review
Written by Jeff Tolbert
Released by Uncork'd Entertainment
Written and directed by C.A. Cooper
2017, 90 minutes, Not Rated
Theatrical release on January 6th, 2017
Eaoifa Forward as Alice Clarke
Dan Paton as Carl Weston
Rachel Warren as Lizzy Abel
I’m kind of a horror noob, truth be told. I mean, I love the idea of horror, but only a very small percentage of the films that get lumped into that category actually appeal to me. I don’t know much about horror history: I’m basically ignorant regarding Hammer horror, giallos, slashers, and all the other subgenres that fans typically obsess over. My preferred horror flavor might more aptly be termed supernatural thriller. I’m not a genre stickler, of course, but in general I like thoughtful, atmospheric films, as opposed to drippy, violent ones.
The trailer for The Snare really had me thinking it fit the bill. There’s blood, sure, but even the most PG-13 of supernatural horror has at least implied violence. (Somebody had to die for there to be a ghost, and 99% of the time that somebody died violently.) Unfortunately, as is often the case, the best bits got shoehorned into that promo reel, with the remnants consisting mostly of gross set pieces strung together with angsty dialogue.
The story: Alice, her friend Lizzie, and Lizzie’s boyfriend Carl drive out to an unspecified, dramatic chunk of the British coast, where a single modern apartment building awaits them, the nearest town (or even other building) presumably miles away. Lizzie’s father’s realty company owns the place, and the young friends decide to party there because it’s currently unoccupied and nothing gets young people going like isolated windswept beaches in the off-season. We learn right away that Alice’s dad is probably molesting her. We also learn that Carl is a vulgar idiot, and Alice laughs constantly. Everybody’s got baggage. The first night in their swinging seaside pad, Carl and Alice smoke up, and everybody drinks, and all seems well until it doesn’t, which happens fairly quickly and yet, somehow, at a snail’s pace. They soon find out that they can’t leave, and then things get obnoxious.
It seems some, I don’t know, ghost, or something, won’t let them leave the building. They can’t use the elevator, the door to the stairwell is locked and seemingly un-break-down-able, and Lizzie talks Carl out of climbing down to the next balcony. So the dumb friends are stuck—naturally, phones don’t work—and rapidly run out of food and water. A roast chicken they bought at a local store is now inexplicably full of maggots, and by the time this film is over, whatever feelings you may currently harbor toward maggots will be exponentially multiplied. If that’s not enough, there’s also rape, maggots, painful shitting, people eating maggots, people eating spiders, homicide, human butchering/cannibalism, and more maggots. One really does wonder how much of the budget was spent on maggots. Probably a fair amount.
Given that these three characters have most of the screen time, everyone does tolerably well. Dan Paton as Carl and Rachel Warren as Lizzy give the most convincing performances, while main character Alice, played by Eaoifa Forward, seems more than a little wooden throughout—possibly appropriate for an emotionally damaged young woman, but not interesting to watch. But there’s not much else going on here besides general queasy unpleasantness. I abhor extreme violence, gore and viscera, and if I’d known this film had these things in it, I would have passed. In fairness The Snare is extremely tame compared to the schlocky grindhouse garbage that some people like, and even at the worst moments the camera doesn’t show nearly as much as it could have. But it still features a number of lingering scenes of unnecessary grossness that do nothing to enhance the plot and in fact contrast jarringly with the supernatural dread it was trying to establish in the first act.
Perhaps because of my aforementioned ignorance, I generally dislike it when films try to recreate the aesthetics of earlier cinematic eras. (Ti West’s The House of the Devil is a semi-exception, but again, I’m not a violence guy.) The Snare seems to reference an established film tradition with which I’m mostly unfamiliar, with artless fast cuts and washed-out colors to create a sense of bleakness and hopelessness, and retro-style sound effects that don’t sync up with the action on screen. True aficionados might appreciate it on this referential level, as so many seemed to like It Follows just because it had a synth soundtrack. But it doesn’t work here.
I’m not a slasher fan, but I can’t help but think this movie would have been greatly improved by a Jason or Leatherface cameo, because by the end you really want everybody to die.
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