Nothing says “spooky all year ‘round” like a horror movie set around Christmas time. In I TRAPPED THE DEVIL, a well-intentioned family reunion soon turns into a waking nightmare.
Released by IFC Midnight, I TRAPPED THE DEVIL centers around three protagonists; Matt and his wife Karen, and Matt’s estranged brother Steve. When the film opens, we’re not quite sure why Steve has been ousted out of the family but we soon find out that Steve has been on a downward spiral and is haunted by tragic events in his past. Hoping to make amends and ridden by guilt, Matt and Karen show up at Steve’s unannounced with the intention of making Christmas special for Steve. Instead of being met with open arms, Steve grows increasingly uncomfortable with their presence.
Soon we find out exactly why Steve is so uncomfortable with outsiders being in his home: Deep in his basement, he’s trapped a man that he is convinced is none other than the devil. What follows is a slow burn descent into madness that can only be enhanced by the madness that usually surrounds holidays with the family.
Written and directed by Josh Lobo, I TRAPPED THE DEVIL slowly tortures the viewer towards what you know in your gut will not be a happy ending. The scenes in the basement with the “Devil” are the most unnerving and Lobo does a good job at making them last as long as possible without ever actually giving anything away. The red glow within the basement is especially effective. Aside from these powerful scenes, I felt like the rest of the movie was a little too slow for my taste. The majority of the film takes place within the house and basement and the actors do a terrific job working with the space, but the lead up to the pay off felt like it was lacking.
Although I enjoyed I TRAPPED THE DEVIL, I wouldn’t necessarily put it in the rotation of “horror movies at Christmastime” but it is definitely worth the watch. You won’t find any jump scares or massive gore here, but it is a good entry into the psychological horror category.
I TRAPPED THE DEVIL arrives in select cinemas and On-Demand April 26th.
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