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  Spirit Trap Because We Don't Want To
Year: 2005
Director: David Smith
Stars: Billie Piper, Luke Mably, Emma Catherwood, Sam Troughton, Alsou, Ovidiu Matesan, Robert Goodman
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Student Jenny (Billie Piper) has recently lost her mother, but life goes on and she has to return to college. A message on her answer machine informs her that she has a place to stay along with four other students, so off she goes to her new residence, meeting Nick (Sam Troughton) outside the gates of the house. They enter, not entirely comfortable about the building's air of foreboding, and find themselves in the large hallway where the only furniture is an old grandfather clock. After picking their rooms, Nick tries to get the clock working and to do so removes a small, leather bound journal that has been stopping the mechanism. As the timepiece clicks into life, little do they know that they have set in motion a series of dreadful events...

Yes, pretty dreadful all round. Watching Spirit Trap, which was written by Phil O'Shea, it's as if the previous twenty five years of horror movies never happened as this could easily have been made about 1980 with its cast of young people dropped straight in a deadly situation that could see them all picked off one by one. To be fair, this is a British horror movie, and they didn't quite follow the same rules as the Hollywood ones, but as far as this film goes it's taken them quite a while to catch up and here everything seems passé.

Or perhaps they were attempting to imitate the popularity of the Asian horrors that gained renown in the five or so years before Spirit Trap was released? There is, after all, an aspect to the haunted house that has water overflowing, dripping and generally looking as if the plumbing needs attention, as in the likes of Dark Water. But first we must meet the victims, with Jenny marked out as the obvious final girl. Along with her and Nick, there's the mysterious Tina (former Eurovision Song Contest runner-up Alsou), and a rather obnoxious couple, Tom (Luke Mably) and Adele (Emma Catherwood).

It's clear that, what with Tina staying enigmatic, Jenny and Nick are our heroes as Tom and Adele smoke, drink and take drugs like there's no tomorrow - which perhaps there won't be. Once the grandfather clock is tick tocking away, complete with a number of dials on its face, the supernatural makes its presence felt when three of the housemates have a go with a planchette they find in a cupboard. During an impromptu seance, the planchette spells out a message, apparently from Jenny's deceased mother, which not unreasonably spooks the girl. There's an awful lot of set up here, with little reward.

Piper gained a lot of well-deserved respect for her role in Doctor Who on television, but she must have been thankful this film was quietly forgotten about almost as soon as it was unleashed on an unwelcoming world. She's not too bad here, as none of the cast are really, but their characters are paper thin leaving them to simply run around swearing (yes, you do get to hear Billie swear in a moment of weakness). There are shady secrets in the students' pasts which have doomed them to a possible eternity in the haunted house, but don't worry, the film doesn't hang around as long as all that. As a run-of-the-mill chiller, Spirit Trap is efficient enough, but its single location action is more monotonous than claustrophobic. Music by Guy Fletcher.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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