Directed by Toshiharu Ikeda
Written by Takashi Ishii
Cinematography by Masaki Tamura
Music by Tomohiko Kira
Cast: Miyuki Ono, Yuji Honma & Aya Katsuragi

1988/102 mins/Color/Mono
1.85:1/Japanese/Japan/NTSC Region 1

Review from the Synapse DVD

Nami (Miyuki Ono who was in Ridley Scott's BLACK RAIN) is a late night "reality show" host, she presents video tapes sent from viewers. One day she gets a tape showing the stalking and torture of a woman who ends up dying after having a knife piercing her eyeball. Nami and her crew decide to investigate and track down the location of where the tape is coming from. It leads them to a huge abandoned warehouse where traps are set almost everywhere and one by one they meet their doom at the hands of a raincoat clad killer.

In the same time, Nami meets a mysterious stranger who was supposedely born without the ability of feeling pain. The stranger is looking for his long lost brother in the abandoned warehouse. But as the old saying goes, "never judge a book by it's cover", there's more to this stranger that anyone could ever think. EVIL DEAD TRAP begins as a slasher but by the two third of the film it turns into supernatural which in my opinion destroy everything that was previously set.

This Japanese cult film has been a favorite among the bootleg video market for over a decade now. Director Toshiharu Ikeda delivered one stylish low budget 16mm nightmare. Ikeda's is a fan of the genre and it shows, constant homages to Dario Argento' stylish uses of coloration and musical score, Lucio Fulci's innovative ways to present gore scenes, Sam Raimi's traveling shots and David Cronenberg's way to use the human body in various forms make EVIL DEAD TRAP a must see for horror fanatics. By the way the film has absolutely nothing to do with Raimi's EVIL DEAD trilogy. EVIL DEAD TRAP original Japanese title is SHIRYO NO WANA which translates as TRAP OF THE DEAD GHOST. It is also important to note that the film was written by famed scripter Takashi Ishii who went on to direct GONIN and BLACK ANGEL amongst others.

Synapse used the same print as Oliver Stone's Phaedra for the film's theatrical revival. The transfer is quite nice especially considering that this 15 years old film was shot on 16mm. The colors are beautifully rendered, there's no signs of compression or artifacts. The film is correctly framed at 1.85:1. The mono audio track sounds great, it's loud and punchy which help Tomohiko Kira's very Goblin-esque and atmospheric score. The film is in Japanese but we can watch it with easy to read yellow English subtitles.

The film is separated in 16 chapters. The DVD comes in a keep case along with a inlay card with the poster on one side and the chapter stops on the other. The disc's presentation and some of the menus have animation and music. We also have a trailer presented full screen.

One of the highlight of this disc is without a doubt the unique commentary track with director Toshiharu Ikeda and Special FX manager Shinichi Wakasa. This has to be the most spontaneous and weird commentary track ever recorded. Sometimes they don't say anything for a while then they talks about anything like the actress getting herself a cofee (as it appears onscreen) or that the lead actress got the role because she looked like Sigourney Weaver, but she doesn't! It sure sounds like they had lotta fun making this. Another funny and interesting bit is the fact that Synapse actually have a warning on the DVD that the commentary track is not up to their quality standard. I don't think it was a good idea to add this since it might turn people away from what has to be one of the funniest commentary track ever!

EVIL DEAD TRAP also spawned two sequels.





This Film Features:

Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©