Review: SPIRIT TRAP

Posted by Peter Hall - October 1st 2008 @ 10:00 pm

Directed by David Smith, 2005
Written by Phil O’Shea

If I’m going to keep watching such mediocre ninety-ish minutes of trapped time, I need to at least watch high concept mediocrity.  SPIRIT TRAP’s plot is as salient as a cobweb on a glass case of cobwebs nestled within a Cobweb Museum.  If that isn’t bad enough, performances and direction are as inspired as I imagine a Cobweb Museum curator would be.  And, yes, of course, watching SPIRIT TRAP is as fun as a tour of a Cobweb Museum would be.

I’m sorry this is here for you to read instead of a review of something better.  I wish I wasn’t writing it, as my writing is evidence that I sat through this uninspired British mess from beginning to end.  Such a confession is nothing to be proud of.  Alas, the moons, stars, planets, tides and winds align against my movie watching habits more often than I care to admit [Curse you, Comcast On-Demand!!!].  So, dear readers, share my disappointment, please.

The only draw towards SPIRIT TRAP is its lead actress, “DR. WHO” and “SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL” veteran Billie Piper.  Actually, having typed those words, I’m not so sure why I even consider that a draw.  I have seen exactly one episode of “DR. WHO” and about three quarters of an episode of “SECRET DIARY”.  I don’t care about Mrs. Piper, I just recognized her name.  There goes the one positive thing I was going to say about this ill excuse for storytelling.

After an opening credit sequence that is a bastardization of SPIDER-MAN and CUBE 2: HYPBERCUBE (of all things), we’re taken to an abandoned house that plays host to a small group of college students lured there under the auspice that they’ll be living dirt cheap.  Of course, after arriving no one ever bothers to go to campus.  Or attempt to go to campus.  Or open a book.  Or do a single fucking thing that would indicate they ever gave a damn about leaving the house in the first place.  Doesn’t matter, though, because they’re all trapped inside (nevermind that no one even figures this out until the last eight minutes of the movie), busy being gently terrorized by gentle non-fears.

There is a long winded plot of ghosts, psychic mediums and a clock that is inexplicably a bridge to another life, but that doesn’t matter because SPIRIT TRAP’s chief agenda is to test your patience and tolerance of porn quality thespians.  Piper is alright, as is her guardian male counter part, but past that everyone is a mess.  I must turn the spotlight on a strange actress, or musician, I guess, named Alsou who plays shows up in the movie from time to time.  Alsou’s face bears an uncanny resemblance to Brooke Smith, quickly becoming a welcome distraction from the rest of the dreck.

And yes, I feel asleep.  And no, I don’t feel bad about it.  I don’t feel it affects my ability to talk SPIRIT TRAP at all.  I am confident I missed nothing of value.  Not because I fell asleep for maybe 3 minutes.  I could have fallen asleep for 82 minutes and still gotten just as much enjoyment out of SPIRIT TRAP.  At least it never does anything to full on annoy, it just never once does anything to even half-on impress.

Following the tracks through IMDB, I’m surprised to learn that SPIRIT TRAP was written by the guy who wrote and directed VAMPIRE DIARY.  Not that I’ve seen the latter (not too many on that there movie database seem to care for it), but I recall a recent issue of Fangoria giving it some praise.  SPIRIT TRAP was a shrug times two, but now I’m intrigued to see VAMPIRE DIARY.  Judging from this script, I’d of guessed Phil O’Shea had all the passion for cinema as that of a tranquilized sloth.  I wonder what a second trip on that lethargic well is like.

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rss 7 comments
  1. Brian
    October 2nd, 2008 | 10:08 am | #1

    Is there anyway you can review a good movie? These reviews of shitty movies I had a 1.7% chance of accidentally watching aren’t very helpful.

  2. R.J. Sayer
    October 2nd, 2008 | 10:35 am | #2

    shoulda asked me about this one, Peter. i coulda warned you.

  3. October 2nd, 2008 | 11:55 am | #3

    I know, I know. I swear I’ll review some good stuff in the next few days.

    Or at least something competent.

  4. deepfield
    October 2nd, 2008 | 12:07 pm | #4

    lmao.. i tried watching this last night

    i made it about 15 minutes in before falling asleep

  5. Birdy
    October 6th, 2008 | 10:47 pm | #5

    …Granted, I have a high tolerance for bad movies (especially horror), but it wasn’t the worst for me. It made acceptable background noise for playing Half Life on my laptop (in other words, it had a couple moments of enough interest to get me to pause from bashing head crab zombies and look up). Which also, by the by, means I didn’t have to pay attention to the admittedly poor acting.

    Although I would point out that the crazy crap all went down in one night–the first night they move in, presumably before the semester began–so it isn’t that big of a hole in the plot that they didn’t crack a book. A bigger hole, I thought, was that one or two of the characters is apparently on the run. I’d assume attending university isn’t a common activity when on the run.

    ..And this response would have been shorter and less nitpicky had I not just watched the blasted thing on TMC yesterday.

  6. October 7th, 2008 | 8:47 am | #6

    I’ve got to admit I am shocked that even this many people have heard of this movie yet alone seen portions of it.

    Birdy, yeah I realized towards the end of the movie that it was all supposed to have been taking place at an indefinite midnight that locked in when the clock was activated, but the sloggish pacing and terrible narrative felt like it was spanning days.

    It seemed like characters were going to sleep and waking up left and right with no thought whatsoever as to how much time had elapsed or what they’d missed.

  7. Sean
    October 7th, 2008 | 9:04 am | #7

    Stop wasting your time with this and review something like Phantasm and the other golden oldies (Does it count as that? it’s only, what, 20 years old)

    I mean, yeah, you’re warning me not to watch it, but surely this is taking a serious toll on your soul.

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