Monday, January 3, 2011

Asian Week: Evil Dead Trap

Bruce Campbell said that a hit movie is a movie seen one hundred times by a million people, while a cult movie is seen a million times by one hundred people.  Speaking of which, here's a movie that's a cult movie- Evil Dead Trap.  Obviously it did well enough, since there is an Evil Dead Trap 2 out there taunting me with its unavailability on Netflix.  Even so, the disc sleeve itself describes it as a cult hit.  Does it feel worthy of the attention?  The plot involves a woman looking into the mystery of a snuff film delivered to her TV show.  I guess it's nice to see fluff reporters tackling the hard stuff, even if they're not really the Police.  What her and her comrades find, however, is more than they could have bargained for.  Take a trip with me to visit the...

A lady reporter is saddled with a show about people sending in videos of their late-night activities, while she wants to do real news.  Yeah, life is tough for you with your easy, high-paying job!  One of the videos that comes in is of a woman being killed, which appears to be real.  That's what Charlie Sheen thought too, you know.  She presses her boss to let her investigate the tape, but he refuses.  It's time for the Japanese Reporter Lady Squad to go into action!  They track it down to a building outside of the city, making me wonder if this movie is going to be over soon.  You jumped right into it, after all.

The answer to my earlier query is resolved by long bits of the people wandering around.  They set up some suspense here by having a couple of mysterious people be shown following them.  Eventually, the group gets split up, causing them to freak out.  The killer stalks them and uses the environment to kill one of them.  One of the others runs out of the building and to the car.  That sounds like a good plan...well, except for the rapist out there who nearly chokes you to death with a chain.  The mysterious killer show up again and kills both of them, again using a gadget.  His big move is capturing another one of the women and filming her torture.  He sets up a trap involving her tied to a pole, a trip-wire and a crossbow.  Way to rip this off, Joy Ride!
Our heroine accidentally sets off the trap, but the arrow narrowly-misses the woman's head.  Unfortunately, our heroine acts without thinking and sets off a different trip-wire which brings an axe down into the woman's head.  You wouldn't look around at all first?  Eventually, her and the guy friend (who's only useful for his gun) chase off the villain, which will raise some questions later.  They share some exposition before splitting up, where our heroine sees the killer drag off the bodies outside.  Why didn't he do that earlier?  Our heroine follows him to his 'lair' and confronts him, only to reveal him as...the guy who was with her.  He says some shit about him being controlled by his twin or something before asking her to shoot him- so she does.  The End.

Oh wait, the guy comes back to life as his twin splits off from him in a good effect.  Despite being 'kind of on fire,' it attacks her before she kicks it out the way, turning into an a broken ball of ash.  The End...for real.

Okay, we're still going apparently.  Our heroine is in the studio just after finishing her show.  She walks off, only to be possessed by the spirit of the dead twin.  She's pregnant...or something.  Does that work through osmosis now?  The End...for really real this time.

I can't complain a whole lot.  The plot of this movie is simple enough, even though the later stuff feels oddly out-of-place.  I'm all for weird plots in movies, but I don't know how this fits together.  It is an interesting way to look at the differences between our culture and theirs, however.  The idea that this stuff has to be 'shoe-horned' into every film is certainly one that we don't share.  Of course, we force romance, dramatic sub-plots and Jude Law into almost all of our films.  It's a trade-off, I guess.  The film certainly lives up to its cult movie status though.  It's interesting to see films that have been inspired by it over the years, even if they won't admit it.  This is actually worth a look, especially if you're a fan of the country's cinema and know what to expect from Japanese films.  It also puts its focus on the right stuff...

Up next, a film by Ryuhei Kitamura that is a lot less famous than Versus.  How do you mix the plot of a serial killer film with What Dreams May Come...and sword-fighting?  Stay tuned...