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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Review: I Trapped The Devil

Director: Josh Lobo
Screenplay: Josh Lobo
Year: 2019

Synopsis: Matt and his wife Karen arrive unannounced into his brother Steve's house to celebrate the holidays with him. Instead, they are greeted with a horrifying surprise; Steve has a man trapped in his basement. But this is not any man, as Steve is convinced that the man he has hostage is the devil himself.

I was interested in "I Trapped The Devil" since I read its title. It is a premise that can have several aspects to it and it is precisely this something it uses to its favor to create uncertainty on the story.

Without wasting time "I Trapped The Devil" establishes a tense tone and some minutes later it establishes the sensation that there is something wrong and that there is a secret. This early intrigue and uncertainty caught my attention right away. This element is the one that is best crafted in the movie since it is established from the beginning and it is maintained until the end by giving just the right amount of information to keep the viewer trying to decipher if the events happening are real or a product of the imagination of a psychologically unstable individual.

To support this sense of uncertainty and tension, the music and the lightning play an important part. The music is wonderful during the whole movie, supporting the feeling that is trying to be delivered on screen. In the visual part, the lightning is used artfully, where good light is used during dialogs and when physical reactions are important and low light when they try to be more mysterious and enigmatic. The decorative Christmas lights also help to create a gloomy atmosphere as contradictory as it may seem, similar to what was seen in "Stranger Things". The use of red light in the basement where presumably the devil is trapped is the epitome of the use of this element for creating tension, supporting the events that take place there.

The acting in this movie is another point in favor. The cast composed by Scott Poythress ("Homeland"), AJ Bowens ("You're Next"), and Susan Burke ("Southbound") do an excellent work. They all understand the role of their characters and interpret them in a way that they can show it without the need of much dialog. At the same time, they help to maintain the tension and uncertainty that is so well crafted in this movie.

Once we arrive at the last minutes of the movie is where it starts to show its weaknesses. The third act starts with the high tension developed in the rest of the movie, but once the ending is reached, it does not justify this slow burn development and it does not make justice to all that has been well done until this point. It gives the sensation that in his inaugural work the writer and director Josh Lobo lost confidence in himself when developing the ending. It is a shame, as the movie is well crafted and would have benefited from a bold ending.

"I Trapped The Devil" dedicates at all times to play with the perception of the viewer about what is happening, it knows how to keep the tension up, and it develops well its story. During the whole movie, you are awaiting an explosive outcome, which does not arrive and in the end, all the development deflates. Still, I enjoyed this movie and it is worth a watch.

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