In the Trap (2019) poster

In the Trap (2019)


Italy. 2019.


Director – Alessio Liguori, Screenplay – Daniele Cosci, Producer – Luigi De Filippis, Photography – Luca Santagostino, Music – Massimiliano Mechelli, Visual Effects Supervisor – Alessandro Risuleo, Makeup Effects – David Bracci, Production Design – Miriam Judith Reichel. Production Company – Dreamworld Pictures/Mad Rocket Entertainment.


Jamie Paul (Philip), David Bailie (Father Andrew), Sonya Cullingford (Catherine Grey), Miriam Galanti (Sonia), Paola Bontempi (Rose), Jude Forsey (Philip Young), Delena Kidd (Old Woman), Leila Gauntlett (Isadora)


Devon, England, 1995. Young Philip lives in a house on the coastline with his mother and sister Isadora. Isadora is then abruptly snatched by a demonic force. In the present, Philip lives in the house alone following the death of his mother where he receives aid from his priest Father Andrew. He has a girlfriend, the violinist Catherine, but she now becomes possessed by the demon. Philip becomes afraid of going outside. He strikes up a friendship with Sonia, the girl upstairs, but is fearful that the demon will attack her.

In the Trap was the second film for Italian director Alessio Liguori. Liguori has first appeared with the UFO film Report 51 (2013) and subsequent to this made Shortcut (2020). All of these are Italian-made films shot in the English language.

In the Trap starts out seeming as though it is a film about demonic Possession. One has to commend Alessio Liguori as he creates a film that comes with a good deal of atmosphere. He gets some reasonably solid jumps out of loud noises on the soundtrack, of figures appearing and snatching people, and of a tall, thin creature appearing in the shadows.

My major quibble with the film is that it is made by Italian creators and production crew – even the so-called Devon locations are shot in Italy. No problem with this – and the crew certainly do a reasonable job in terms of production. The film features religion as a backdrop but the problem is that it is made by Italians imagining what religion in England is like. Italy is a Catholic country and the filmmakers clearly draw on what they are used to. Now if the film is set in England, people should be aware that the Catholics were driven out of the country in the 16th Century by Henry VIII after he parted ways with The Pope and established the Anglican Church. The problem in the film is that the depiction of the supposedly Anglican religion here is all Catholic – the priest invokes the rites of exorcism in Latin and swears by the Virgin Mary, Jamie Paul lives in a house surrounded by icons and giant crucifixes, which are all elements we associate with Catholicism but were dispensed with by the Anglicans.

Father Andrew (David Bailie) and Philip (Jamie Paul) in In the Trap (2019)
(l to r) Father Andrew (David Bailie) and Philip (Jamie Paul) face demonic forces in the house

Ever since The Sixth Sense (1999), the horror film seems to have had a fairly mandatory need to pull a Conceptual Reversal Twist on audiences. The film manages a fairly good one where [PLOT SPOILERS] we spend much of the show with Jamie Paul trapped in his house by a demonic force, one that possesses his girlfriend Sonya Cullingford. Then comes the jolt twist where we suddenly learn that there are no demons, that everything about such has only existed inside Jamie Paul’s head and what we have been watching is all a Mad Person’s Delusion.

This makes the film not dissimilar to the more high-profile Saint Maud (2019) that came out the same year, which dealt with someone experiencing religious hallucinations, the major difference being that Saint Maud placed you inside the state of mind of its title character whereas this structures everything as an abrupt left field twist.

Trailer here

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