Terror Trap starts late one night as squabbling married couple Don (David James Elliott) & Nancy (Heather Marie Marsden) drive through the isolated back-roads of a small Louisiana town called Santa Parish on their way to a casino in Marksville, suddenly a car crashes into them & speeds off leaving Don & Nancy stranded in the woods. They call 911 for help & Sheriff Cleveland Taylor (Jeff Fahey) arrives, Taylor drives Don & Nancy to a nearby motel, the Royal Vista which is a rundown dump. Don & Nancy are given a room but soon discover that the owners are playing a sick game in which the motel is used to snuff films & the paying guests used as unwilling stars…
Written, produced & directed by Dan Garcia this film could quite easily be thought as of a cheap low budget remake of Vacancy (2007) as the two are so similar, from the big city couple checking into a rundown motel in the middle of nowhere to their terrorisation & attempts to kill them by the owners for profit & the eventual turning of the tables by the resourceful city folk. Now I will list what I liked about Terror Trap, firstly I appreciated the fact that it lasted just under 75 minutes, secondly I liked that the main city couple were adults rather than dumb teens & I liked the feisty Nancy who had a lot of personality & gave as good as she got in some amusing verbal sparring between herself & Don, she almost made this watchable. Almost. You see what I didn’t like far outweighs what I did. Even at only 75 minutes in length Terror Trap takes ages to get going, it’s forty odd minutes before the city folk realise what’s going on & the onslaught begins, the body count is really low & the gore is none existent, the plot mechanics are never adequately explained, who is in charge of the operation? Why ran Don & Nancy off the road? Are they making snuff films? Is it being streamed across the internet? How do they make their money? There’s about eight people who watch monitors of what’s going on but surely they wouldn’t make much from that? What are these people paying for? Do they participate or not? Do they just get to watch? What do the van load of women have to do with anything? Who is Michael Madsen in this exactly? Who is the guy he blow’s up at the end? The whole film feels unfinished, the film feels like a first draft without the finer points of the plot fleshed out. The film feels a lot like Vacancy. I already said that didn’t I? Well, it’s worth repeating. Basically I liked Nancy as a surprisingly strong & well rounded character but not much else.
Gore fans will be disappointed with Terror Trap, there really is no gore to speak of & the potential was there for some torture scenes but no-one is ever shown being killed apart from a few of the bad guy’s at the end & even then it’s just a few bullet wounds rather than memorable gory death’s. There’s no sex or nudity either. The film looks alright, there’s some annoying black and white ultra quick edited supposedly stylised sequences that just irritate as you can’t really tell what’s going on. As a whole Terror Trap is competent but little else & the lack of gore in a supposed torture pron film such as this is unforgivable, isn’t it? There’s no tension or scares, the seemingly random attacks on Don & Nancy are pathetic with a few guy’s in animal mask’s chasing them but making no real attempt to kill them for reason never really explained.
With a supposed budget of about $2,000,000 one has to ask where the money went, it certainly wasn’t on special effects & considering the types of films they lower themselves to make these days it couldn’t have been on Michael Madsen or Jeff Fahey’s fee. Fahey is quite good here actually, we never really find that much about him out & Michael Madsen’s character seems almost irrelevant to be honest (I don’t even remember him getting a name) although it’s always nice to see a couple of pro’s even if it’s in junk like Terror Trap.
Terror Trap (which sounds a lot like Tourist Trap (1979)) is a total rip-off of Vacancy, the two films could have been made from the same script with minimal changes. This is far too tame & forgettable to make any sort of impact, at least it’s short & Heather Marie Marsden as Nancy gives it her all but when all said & done give this one a miss.