18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2000
Warning their are scenes of intense violence contained within in this movie. However if you can stomach the gore this movie has a lot more to offer than you're standard hack and slash effort. There is a wonderfully intense atmosphere pervading the whole movie. The deaths are immaginative and are handled extremely well. The influnces although obvious (Argento, Ramai and a brilliant tribute to Fulci), Japanese director Toshiharu Ikeda adds his own twist to the procedings. If you are fed up of limp offerings that fail to deliver the goods then check this excellent film out.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2006
Before Ringu made Japanese horror films mainstream in the west, there was Evil Dead Trap...probably the most well known Asian horror film of its time. A late night news program recieves an apparent snuff film from an obsessed viewer. Hoping this will be the big story she has been looking for, anchorette Nami and her crew decice to investigate. Once the bodies start to drop though, it becomes clear to Nami that there may be more to this story than meets the eye.
This is a great Japanese horror film from the 80's with an ending reminescent of early Cronenberg. Any fan of the genre should be more than pleased.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2001
Late Night talk show hostess Nami receives a mysterious videotape that shows the brutal killing of a young woman. It also describes the way to a remote industrial area, where this snuff videotape obviously was filmed. Attracted from what she saw, Nami and her television crew drive to the area to investigate the background of the video. Now the horror starts, as one after another is killed in unbelievably sadistic fashion. Who (or better: WHAT) is the killer?
This film can be called the "flagship" of Japanese splatter horror movies. Filled with style and sadism only possible in Japanese genre films, it brought new life to the genre. The gory special effects are ultra-realistic and remind of the notorious "Giniipiggu 2: Chiniku no hana". Actress Miyuki Ono, talented and beautiful, delivers a superb performance as Nami.
This DVD version isn't really better in terms of picture quality than the older Dutch release, but has better subtitles and features extras. And there's a strange difference between the two during the opening credits: Here they are white on black ground, in the dutch version they are green.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2005
Until its final (disappointing) reels, "Evil Dead Trap" is basically a slasher film with an intriguing premise: The hostess of a late-night TV show for Insomniacs solicits home videos from her viewers. She receives a tape that follow a van as it makes its way outside the city to an abandoned military complex. Inside, the faceless videographer appears to torture and then murder a woman. The TV show host gets a crew together to investigate - WRONG move. Someone or some thing lies in the shadows, ready to torture and murder Nami's crew one by one. What could he want with Nami?
The first thing you should know about "Evil Dead Trap" is that its violence is far more intense than your average US slasher. Fans of Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci (whose work "EDT" mines extensively) probably won't be shocked by the level of violence, but your casual viewer might be turned off by the sheer brutality of the carnage. Unlike say Jason or Freddy, the faceless killer of "Evil Dead Trap" isn't content to just murder his victims. Nope, this baddy wants to actually torture them in a series of highly sadistic and elaborate set pieces. The body count isn't especially high, but it does include intense, graphic scenes of eye-gouging, a cleaver to the head, a garote/neck-snapping, etc. Gorehounds will love it; casual horror fans might be seriously put off.
Aside from the brutality, what sets "Evil Dead Trap" apart for me is the stylish camera work and chilly atmosphere of the film. Corridors of the labyrinthian military base are lit with bold Technicolors. There's a gorgeous scene set in the fog-drenched woods outside. The soundtrack is unintrusive but effectively creepy. I'd never realized how much Japanese horror was incluenced by Italian gaillo and gore films, but fans of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci will recognize little stylistic flourishes throughout "Evil Dead Trap."
There are some plot gaps. For one thing, if I'd received a snuff film in the mail, my first response would be to contact the police - NOT to investigate the source on my own! Even assuming the film was fake, the kind of person who'd stage a mock snuff that features a woman getting her eye pierced by a large, sharp poker (in graphic, disgusting detail) is not the kind of person I want to meet. The first few minutes of the movie require some serious suspension of disbelief ...
And the ending is a letdown. "Evil Dead Trap" is so stylish that for the first hour or so I started to enjoy the fairly by-the-numbers predictability of it all. The last half an hour veers into some highly ridiculous Freudian psychobabble terrain that didn't seem to fit. I give the screenwriter/director credit for trying to do something different, but the ending is a serious departure from the rest of the film. The last half an hour or so seems to lag, and things get uninteresting once "Evil Dead Trap" tries to explain itself.
Anyway, all that said - ANY fan of Japanese or Eurohorror will enjoy the movie, and US horror fans who have a stomach for graphic violence should be entertained. "Evil Dead Trap" is uneven and flawed, but it kept me rivetted for most of the film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2005
This is a very bizzare and I won't hesitate to say - one of the best Japanise horror flicks I've seen. First if your opinion on Japanise horror tradition is based on such titles as "The Ring", "Grudge" and "Dark Water", you may forget about them - that is to say the latest Japanise wave. In 1980-s it was by far different. "Evil Dead Trap" has some supernatural elements as well, but it's made in a totally different style. I'd call it Japanise-Italian style no mater how funny that may sound. This movie reminds of giallo films in general and of some particular works by Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci. Everything is done here in Italian manner - cinematography, music, camera angles, ghastly murder scenes. I'm far from thinking it was the director's intention but sometimes I got the feeling I was watching some tribute to Italian masters of horror. I'm sure there were scenes imitating the ones from "Suspiria" and "Phenomena" for example, and eyeball-slitting scene was a flat-out homage to Fulci's "The New York Ripper". And music - if I heard it while my eyes were blindfolded and was asked what it is - I'd say it's Goblin's soundtrack to some new Argento movie.
"Evil Dead Trap" (apart from having a stupid title) is at times absurd, surreal and strange but without a doubt very stylish, original and fresh although as I said is reminiscent of many Italian horrors. That's a very pleasant fact considering it was made in 1988. I'm not sure you'll like it if you have just a shadowy idea about Japanise horror, but if you are an aficionado - I bet this movie would be interesting for you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Evil Dead Trap (Toshiharu Ikeda, 1988)
Man, this movie wears its Argento influence on its sleeve in a huge way. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing; a handful of directors have been able to take the Argento influence and really run with it (the most notable being Michele Soavi). Evil Dead Trap, however, uses the visual brilliance he's inherited from Argento to mask a shallow script with a predictable plot.
Nami (Miyuki Ono, who would show up the year after in Ridley Scott's Black Rain) is the hostess of a late-night TV show with an all-female production team. One day, she comes in to find a package on her desk. When she views the videotape inside, she finds what looks like a snuff movie, and in the spirit of investigative journalism, she and a camera crew head out to the abandoned military base where the movie was filmed to see if she kind find the body, or perhaps the killer. When the crew get there, they find a mysterious man who warns them away. Soon after, as you would expect, the crew begin dying.
Predictable, right? Like you wouldn't believe. Every plot twist you expect is coming, and if you haven't figured out the Big Reveal halfway through the movie, you haven't seen enough slasher films. I grant you, there's a pretty bizarre twist to this particular Big Reveal, but it's still a variation on a theme. You've seen this before many, many times. Still, it's all quite pretty, and if you're a gorehound there's more than enough here to keep you satisfied. Just don't expect a great script. ** ½
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2005
"Evil Dead Trap" (Shiryo no Wana) proves that sometimes you've just gotta give a bad flick a second chance.
I wasn't in a receptive mood when I first watched this infernal juggernaut of grue and carnage, or maybe I was too doused in firewater to appreciate it. Whatever, I thought the film was godawful: slow, dull, meandering, not shocking at all. An hour in I hit STOP, and nearly returned it.
What a mistake that would have been. I gave it a second chance, and I'd like to warn you: you may find yourself grinding your teeth at tedium or stupidity, and decide "Evil Dead Trap" isn't your mug of blood. If you find yourself thinking that, turn the flick off, wait a week, and try it again.
"Evil Dead Trap" is like diving through a dumpster in search of a bottle with a few ounces of the old rotgut, and coming up with an unopened bottle of Chianti. Or spotting a dog turd on your driveway, only when you return with the scooper it's actually a gold nugget the length of your forearm.
Or you've blown the dinner budget on firewater again, and as you peel back the lid of that tin of catfood, you realize it's full of Sevruga caviar.
Don't misinterpret my 5-star rating: Evil Dead Trap is not a masterpiece. In some ways---the dialogue, the pacing, the thin characterization---it's not even a very good movie.
But part of what I'm looking for is a flick capable of pushing the envelope and embracing the extreme; the sick, the soul-searing, the sordid, macabre and terrifying. I want a horror movie to break my jaw, sink its yellow choppers into my jugular, and rewire my neurons while it's slicing and dicing.
In Evil Dead Trap, I found it.
The plot is sleek and simple: Nami receives an anonymous videotape for her late-night reality TV show. Initially just a first-person account of a ride out of Tokyo: grainy, the tape is obviously shot by handheld videocam, depicting the travel route through the car's windshield, noting with meticulous care highway turn-offs and landmarks, finally arriving at what appears to be a derelict, abandoned military base. There is no commentary, and the identity of the filmmaker---and any accomplices---is not revealed.
The video cuts to the interior of one of the ruined buildings, zooms in on a young woman, hands suspended, chained, above her head: we witness the knife move down towards her eye, the blade arcing in to slice open the cornea, the lense. We watch her die,and at the last minute, Nami's face is superimposed on the victim's own.
Nami is intrigued. She and her crew decided on a little road trip, follow the directions in the video, enter the military base, split up, and prowl around. You can probably figure out what happens next.
Or can you? I'm willing to bet you can't---and by the way, the warped, completely insane little turn at the end warrants the 5-star rating. It's like happening upon a Demon wearing a zombie-mask: by the time you realize the old bullet in the head technique doesn't work it's too late. It's all about fear, my lovelies. It's like that troll beneath the bridge waiting for the Bill Goats Gruff: it festers, it simmers, it giggles down there in the dark beneath the stairway. It wants to hide, play, and kill.
It helps that Ikeda is a genius at pacing and wields a mean camera: the cinematography is alternately garish, gorgeous, vivid and lush, and unflinchingly clinical. The camera doesn't shake or reel away from the violence: it fixates on it, draws us deeper, forces us to look.
The location doesn't hurt things, either: virtually the entire flick takes place in the brooding confines of the abandoned military base, which quickly becomes a character in its own right. It is a sprawling, rambling labyrinth of corridors and hallways, control rooms and laboratories, chutes and shafts and tunnels, bleak, forsaken, rippling with rot and decay and maggots. Oh, and providing the Killer with plenty of places to hide, rig traps, brutalize victims undisturbed, and set up ambushes.
Ikeda devises some ghoulishly evocative setpieces that contrast nicely: the sere, shadowy, forlorn bleakness of much of the base, contrasted with the wan exterior shots, ruined outbuildings and guard-posts festooned and overrun with jungle or shrouded in thick fog---or even the baroque sickroom of the Killer's inner sanctum (festooned with dummy cadavers and mellowly lit by candle, it looks like something out of Brueghel's Hell).
If anything, "Evil Dead Trap" works because of its subtlety and sleight-of-hand. Director Ikeda has conjured up a true Devil's Playground, and caught his killing fields on film: we are at liberty to wander the grounds of this Kingdom of Darkness, at our own peril, and as the Hunted, naturally.
And then the questions: why does Nami's mysterious rescuer (Noboru Mitani)know his way around the base so well? Why does he talk about being confined in a small cell early in his life? Why does the Killer haunt a military base, and what sort of purpose did the base serve, with its storerooms and laboratories? What, exactly, went on here?
Oh, and one other question: while you've been reading this review, who has been turning the doorknob to your front door? And whose footsteps do you hear coming down the hall?
Welcome to the Devil's Playground.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2001
Evil Dead Trap is a dark, gothic, and gruesome cult classic. If you are a horror fan, you will notice alot of familer scenes and styles that the director adapted for the great look of this film. The film starts out fast and slows down halfway through. The first 45 minutes we are witnessing multiple gruesome murders at breakneck speed then the film slows down and follows the lead character Nami. At this point, the film uses fear and style to keep the movie rolling. Some scenes will almost seem like rip-offs such as fast moving perspective shots (a la Evil Dead) and a scene with maggots falling from a ceiling (Suspiria) but I think these scenes are done out of tribute and respect before plagerism. I did enjoy this movie and I do recommend it to serious horror fans but I did dislike the ending. Others may like the ending and it sort of reminds me of Dario Argento's style of twisting the story out of control at the last minute but here it is just a gooey way of bringing a final shock. Some of the violence in this movie is a little over the top for me too but that is a personal preference. I usually have a high tolerance towards gore but I had a hard time watching the first murder on the videotape sent to Nami. I also wasn't fond of the scene where Rya gets raped and then drug over the top of the car and dropped on her neck/head. Besides these small things, there was still alot to enjoy here and it had the potential to be a classic but only falls a few millimeters short so I still recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2007
Evil Dead Trap is a Japanese horror film from the 80's that drew a lot of inspiration from Italian and American horror film's from that era, particularly Argento, Cronenburg and Fulci movie's. It's got all the color's, technique's, and beautifully staged murder sequences of Argento's best work, with the supernatural and bizarre element's of a Cronenburg movie, and the gore of a Fulci movie all blended into a strange, yet incredible horror film (even has a soundtrack that could be mistaken as lost Goblin music).
A newswoman get's a strange videotape of a girl being sliced up in an abandoned factory (including an eyeball slicing scene reminiscent of Fulci's New York Ripper) and she and her collegues decide to investigate the murder. It then turn's into a enjoyably confusing nightmare of gore and the supernatural. One after another they get murdered in very brutal and creative way's, and then top's it all off with a Cronenburg-like, sci-fi ending. This is one of the best Japanese (or anywhere for that matter) horror flick's ever to have been made, and I can't recommend this one enough.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2001
This movie is nothing that hasn't been done before. It seems as though Ikeda watched a bunch of American and Italian films and decided to recreate his favorite scenes. He does nothing more than show us what we've all seen before with a bit of a Japanese twist to it all. Inside this film you will find The Fisherman from I Know What You Did..., killings straight out of Friday the 13th, Argento's music, Fulci's ocular fixations, and a completely over the top ending reminescent of the hallucinogenic Italian film Spider Labyrinth. Despite the other reviewer's assertions that this is similar to Evil Dead, I found no touches of Raimi in this film. It is never funny or slapstick like Ash and the zombies. There are no flying eyeballs or waggling hands in Evil Dead Trap. Eyeballs and hands are strictly poked and severed.
It is very graphic and scary at times. However, the suspense is totally in vain because the ending is lame. The protagonist starts off very scary and quite like an Argento character (we see black leather boots instead of black leather gloves), but by the end is reduced to a silly inexpensive haunted house beast. It's too bad Ikeda cheaped out like this. If he had left out the "supernatural" element, this truly would have been frightening. If you love Italian horror as I do, you should check this out. If you are looking for something original, stay away. I do recommend stocking up on a boat load of Kirin before you watch this. If you are not half in the bag you just may want to throw something at you tv in the final minutes.