There has always been a strong link between psychology and horror. Our minds can be some of the scariest places in the universe. Events in our lives can cause our minds to fracture and darken leaving us full of paranoia and dread. These events can also completely break some of us, changing us for the worse, promoting further descent into the darkest reaches of our splintered souls.
THE SNARE, written and directed by C. A. Cooper, is a psychological horror films that slowly delves into the minds of its characters, picking at their brains bit by bit. It follows three friends, Alice (Eaoifa Forward), Lizzy (Rachel Warren) and Carl (Dan Paton) as they head to a holiday apartment that's been left vacant for the winter. They plan to booze and drug it up and enjoy a debaucherous weekend away. Things soon turn sour as they realize they are stuck on the top floor of the building that may or may not be haunted with no feasible way out.
A snare is designed to trap, and that is precisely what Cooper did to his actors - he trapped them on the set. Apparently the movie was shot almost solely in an actual apartment. The actors worked late into the night with very little rest, and for five days, what sleep they were allowed was done on the set. Their diets were also restricted an on one occasion they weren't allowed to use their phones, watch TV or interact with anyone in the outside world. The apartment was also set up so that doors would slam to startle the actors. Cooper was trying to get visceral performances through method acting.
I appreciated the rawness in subject matter and depravity in the dialogue. There were discussions relating to fetishism and sexual deviancy and allusions to molestation and incest. There were also scenes that were framed to promote a sense of isolation and an instance where one of the actors actually ate a live spider. There was food teeming with maggots and people peering in on things they shouldn't be while hiding themselves away in dark corners. There was discomfort and claustrophobia and I swear the actors appeared to show slight emaciation towards the end of the film. This is method acting and it did work to an extent.
But what didn't work for me personally were the vagaries in the script and narrative. THE SNARE relies heavily on nightmarish visuals that are left to the interpretation of the viewer. Your appreciation of the film will be dependent on whether or not you're in the mood to decode the filmmaker's intent or if you'd rather be spoon-fed a story. The movie tried to pierce on a deeper psychological level but ultimately resulted in only a superficial wound.
Cindy Van Wert
THE SNARE is currently available on VOD and will be released in select theaters on Jan. 13