In the Trap is an Exorcism Film, but Is Not What You Expect

Young Philip (Jude Forsey) sees monsters. His mother (Paola Bontempi) doesn’t believe him, of course, but she gives him a rosary and they pray. Unfortunately, the monster was real, and abducted and killed his younger sister, Isidore (Leila Gauntlett).

Yes, this is pretty much the exact origin story of Sam and Dean Winchester, of Supernatural. Except it’s a sister that was taken, and Philip didn’t grow up into a monster hunter, but a neurotic superCatholic. And he’s not a pouty-lipped model-looking dude, but a dorky, scruffy, scrawny dude.

Father Andrew (David Bailie) helps guide the child, leading him in prayer and veneration of saints and angels, and he and his mother mourn the loss of Isidore. When his mother dies, adult Philip (Jamie Paul) is left alone in their home, though the priest still visits and offers guidance.

Life is okay. Philip os a proofreader, in love with a violinist named Catherine (Sonya Cullingford). Father Andrew advises him to loosen up and enjoy love.

But things start to happen in the apartment: a rosary left on a statue of Mary is found on the floor, Catherine finds Isidore’s long-lost teddy bear after following the sound of childish laughter. Philip seeks counsel from Father Andrew.

“The most cunning trick of the devil is to try and convince one he doesn’t exist. But the one thing the devil has never learned to do, that is to hide his tail!” says the priest. He believes Philip that something is going on, but has no real advice until the day Philip calls him in because Catherine is possessed.

From here the film follows the Exorcist playbook fairly closely. The victim contorts and blasphemes and cries out. The old priest’s attempts are rebuffed. And as by-the-book as it goes, it’s still entertaining and interesting, and as far as we know the demon doesn’t have a silly name.

Two years later, Philip is once again alone, and the apartment is strung with crucifixes and bells on red yarn, and he has a sort of panic room pasted with images of saints and angels, in which he locks himself to pray when the supernatural gets too much.

This film has a very small cast. For most of it, there is just Philip and the priest, and Catherine and the upstairs neighbor Sonia (Miriam Galanti) come and go.  But the acting is strong, the tension is choreographed beautifully, and the sound design carries its own weight with perhaps just a hint of The Shining.

This movie makes one question everything, and even what look like editing gimmicks have sense and reason when you learn more. The stopped clock is somehow brilliant. The peril builds and the climax is satisfying and does not cheat the viewer.


Rating: 8 out of 10 Crucifixes (and a bell) Strung on Red Yarn

In the Trap Comes to Digital Platforms and DVD on April 10th

In the Trap
RATING:Not Rated
Runtime:1 hour 33 minutes
Directed By:
Written By:


By |2020-04-06T23:37:18-07:00April 6th, 2020|Movies, Reviews|Comments Off on In the Trap is an Exorcism Film, but Is Not What You Expect

About the Author:

Scix lived through the 80s but doesn't remember much of the 70s. Horror writer, improv actor and haunted house monster trainer and designer, Scix also likes to emcee underground burlesque and vaudeville shows in Salt Lake City.
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