Review: ‘The Snare’ is a Tense Horror/Thriller

From its very opening, C.A. Cooper’s The Snare is not messing about: a crescendo of music plays on a black screen, rising until it cuts out, with a smash cut to a cemetery. We get a couple shots of the graveyard before it cuts again to a rotting bunny, with emphasis on the maggots crawling all over it.

There will be more maggots. So. Many. Maggots. Really: if a viewer was made uncomfortable by the rain of maggots in Argento’s SuspiriaThe Snare will cause full-body convulsive revulsion. It’s a movie which, despite its rather simple and spare premise, manages to work in quite a bit of squirm-inducing moments.

The plot’s simple: “Three friends head to the seafront for a drunken weekend, only to be imprisoned on the top floor of their holiday apartment by a malevolent paranormal force.” However, thanks to Cooper’sexecution, there’s more to hear than just another poltergeist movie. Is there a ghost at all, or is it in the heads of Alice, Lizzy, or Carl?

Cooper’s made a smart move with The Snare, in that the men in this movie are ominous: crossing boundaries of propriety and conduct as if they’re completely absent. Carl — boyfriend of Lizzy — is instantly unlikable. It is no easy feat, given Alice’s dad wanders in and chats with her as she’s changing her clothes at the film’s outset.

Frankly, The Snare is just tense. It’s very tense, actually, with shots contrasting each other, switching between intense close-ups and wide shots of the sparsely-appointed apartment. Tim Johnson’s high-pitched, keening score, coupled with strange and bewildering flashbacks or dreams had by Alice keep the viewer just as off-balance as the trio trapped in their top-floor apartment.

In fact, given the implied relationship between Alice and her father — up to and including the final scenes of The Snare — there’s plenty to unpack in terms of attacks and mental stress. By the film’s end, and the final shot of the apartment, the viewer has to go all the way back to The Snare’s beginning and re-contextualize everything they’ve seen over the last 90 minutes. It’s an experience, to be certain.

Writer and director C.A. Cooper’s British horror/thriller makes its way to theaters and On Demand, January 6, 2017, from Uncork’d Entertainment.