The greatest horror films deal with our own psychological troubles. It is a classic trope, really: Am I actually seeing this hideous monster or am I going completely mad? The twist of this story has created some masterful pieces of work – especially when you aren’t aware that our hero is slightly deranged state. From Rosemary’s Baby to Switchblade Romance, horror has always relied on misaligned mental health skewering any possible supernatural entity.
After all, it can’t be real, can it?
That’s the toiling subject of Josh Lobo’s I Trapped The Devil. The film revolves around Matt and his wife Karen who surprise Matt’s estranged brother Steve during the Christmas holidays. When he finds the house in somewhat of a disarray and Steve even more so, Matt is understandably worried for his brother. When the couple discover that Steve has someone trapped in the basement, they are appalled, worried that Steve has finally unravelled. However, he claims that the man he has caught is The Devil. Could he be telling the truth?
Lobo’s tense and wrought piece is a mere 80 minutes long but you feel every one of them on the screen. This is a tense film that looks at one man tortuous struggle and the exasperated brother desperate to save him – but proving that he might just be a detriment to Steve’s unwavering mind-set. As Steve tries to convince Matt that the King of Hell may actually be present in his basement, all his evidence proves only further shows Matt that his brother is losing it. With a tight script, the unravelling and the chilling ending, Lobo makes great work of the atmosphere and the angst.
The performances are great. Scream King A.J. Bowen takes a less sinister role than he’s used to pay the concerned Matt. His caring and loving but struggles with Steve’s breakdown. Susan Burke as Karen is brilliant, leaning further into Steve’s yarns than Matt. She starts off adamant that they need to help the man behind the door but the close she gets to him, the closer she begins to believe Steve’s story.
I Trapped the Devil greatest achievement is Scott Poythress as the troubled Steve. He is brilliant in his mannerisms and you bounce between believing his story and aghast at his mental instability. Poythress is terrific – really dragging us into his story with empathy and great allure.
Taking place in one location – a house lit up in colours thanks to the abundance of fairy-lights. In the dark basement, there is a brooding hellish red light that plays havoc with shadows and perceptions. As a voice calls from behind the door, audiences are left guessing whether or not Lucifer lurks behind the door and weather Steve is now being hounded by demons.
Perhaps ending on cold yet exquisite imagery, I Trapped the Devil is a film that requires work and patience. Yet it relishes it’s brooding tone and stunning performances.
I Trapped The Devil is playing at Frightfest
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