“Deliverance” spawned a new genre for exploitation audiences based on the fear of rednecks, and even though “Trapped” doesn’t belong in the same sentence as that classic thriller, you can’t help but compare the two because of the very similar plot lines.
However, the major difference between the two films is over-the-top acting and script constraints of “Trapped,” holding it back from being as entertaining a romp as Burt Reynolds’ bow and arrow shooting thriller was.
Henry Chatwill (Henry Silva, “Amazon Women on the Moon”) has a few severe mental problems, but that hasn’t stopped him from acquiring a hot wife and being in charge of the rednecks of Baker County. His wife trots around naked or half-naked and teasing the “gentlemen” in the area, which leads to the essential dilemma that she will eventually cheat on him. However, when she is caught in the act, Chatwill believes that she was being raped and proceeds to torture the suitor by tarring and feathering him.
Now, an adjacent storyline is centered on a group of college kids who are going up to that spot on vacation. Foreshadowing occurs during their story as a young man named Roger Michaels (Nicholas Campbell, “The Dead Zone”) discusses in a law class that no one has the right to kill anyone, no matter the circumstances.
Will Mr. Michaels stay true to his original school of thought?
All this information may seem like a slow start, but it is well worthwhile when their trip goes horribly wrong. They witness Chatwill murder the man that slept with his wife, and a vicious game of cat and mouse begins.
This is a well-made independent thriller that manages to keep your attention for the whole running time. The pacing is done so well that the suspense is evident throughout, even when we know the characters are making stupid moves on their perspective parts. For example, the scene where they go back for their camping gear after informing the sheriff they witnessed a murder. The hell with the camping gear, we all know they should just go home and be glad they are alive.
The photography from Mark Irwin (“Videodrome”) is a major reason why the film works so well because he creates a palpable backwoods fear that helps William Fruet (“Spasms”) assured direction. Fruet crafted intelligent horror pictures, well sticking to the issues that often face directors of low-budget cinema. With more money and time, “Trapped” could have been excellent, but you can’t get perfect takes from actors if time is a serious issue.
That issue is apparent in the performance of Silva, who must have attended the same acting school as Christopher Walken because he comes off scary, but not for the reasons he should be. What is scary about him is that he thinks he is giving a good performance, when in fact it is over-the-top scenery chewing.
The opposite can be said for Campbell’s excellent performance as the put upon hero and a man that must confront his own belief structure. It is actors like himself that made the exploitation genre so wonderful because being an unknown actor and wanting to prove himself enhanced his performance greatly.
Away from the action picture, Code Red provided an excellent transfer of the original print with clear audio with no visible static. Extras on the disc include the original theatrical Spanish trailer for “Trapped”. That makes for some brief comic relief to see Silva’s bad performance in Spanish. Three more trailers are included for the kung-fu, monster flick set in New York, “The Devil’s Express”, (Which needs a release soon) the recently released Italian Giallo, “The Weekend Murders” and another “Deliverance” inspired picture “Rituals.”
This 1982 oddity is an excellent release from Code Red for anyone that is interested in the independent horror scene of the early ’80s and despite some major flaws, it is still a enjoyable picture.
Be glad you can view Baker County without making a trip down there.