Director – Toshiharu Ikeda
Cast – Miyuki Ono, Aya Katsuragi, Hitomi Kobayashi, Eriko Nakagawa, Masahiko Abe, Hiroshi Shimizu
Release Year – 1988
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is a flick I had heard some pretty good things about, and seeing that this is an 80s Japanese watch I was pretty stoked to see what their 80s horror flicks were like. After reading the plot I became even more interested, and after quite some time I was finally able to give this film a watch. While the film does come with some flaws usually reserved for weird Japanese flicks, the horror and other awesome elements were there, and this wound up being a sweet watch in the end.
Evil Dead Trap follows a nightly news crew who one day receives what appears to be a gruesome snuff film, and heads to the location of the film, a warehouse on the outskirts of town, to investigate the matter. Upon arriving at the warehouse the film crew, lead by their host Nami Tsuchiya, is killed off in gruesome fashion by a fetus-like creature, which comes with a stunning revelation for Nami.
Leave it to the Japanese to throw in a fetus-like creature, snuff footage, rape, gore, and insane antics all into one 100 minute watch. As I mentioned earlier, I was stoked to see what an 80s Japanese horror film would look and feel like, and I can say that it was very reminiscent to the American 80s horror flicks we are so used to and adore dearly. The level of “cheese” is high in this watch, and the musical score only adds to the cheesiness, a nice touch from director Toshiharu Ikeda.
Ikeda’s direction is the film’s highest selling point, and he delivers the horror in great fashion. We get some insanely awesome kills that were hard-hitting thanks to his camerawork and shocking execution, plus he laid on heavy amounts of sweet live-action gore, always a plus and in my opinion…a requirement if at all possible. The acting jobs from our characters are the usual acting performances we get from Japanese actors, so if you known what you are getting into then you should not have a problem with their performances. Toshiharu Ikeda employs some rather unique visual work in the film, giving us what appears to be a POV filming technique used in another film with the words “evil” and “dead” in it, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. I did not personally enjoy these scenes, mainly because they were a bit outlandish and did not make much sense in relation to the story, but if it is a shout-out to Raimi’s classic I can be forgiving towards it.
While the direction is awesome, the storyline does come with a few faults. I personally loved the idea of a film crew investigating a snuff film and coming across something more sinister than they ever imagined, so the overall plot is highly enjoyable to me. The first half of the film is incredible, and paces very well thanks to some awesome kills and good development overall. The second half of the film is where things fall apart for a bit. We get some heavy downtime from the latter second act to the early third act that really hurt the pacing of the film, and did not give us much in return either. We do not get much in development during this segment, and are instead shown some useless scenes of our protagonist, Nami, running around and acting a fool. Thankfully, the latter sequences of the third act are pretty damn awesome, and reveal some pretty shocking revelations behind the carnage going on in the warehouse. These scenes may not make the most sense to the non-Japanese, but they were well written and awesomely executed, so they work for me in providing a great climax to an interesting film.
Overall, this is a unique watch that amounts to a pretty good film thanks to great direction and a sweet story. The film does come with some slow sequences that mess with the pacing, but everything around them like the great gore and awesome kill sequences alleviate what we lose in those scenes. Those who want to see what an 80s Japanese horror film looks/feels like should give this one a watch.