A trio of friends head off for a drunken weekend at an empty seafront apartment complex, but after becoming stranded by a malfunctioning lift and locked stair doors and with no way to summon help, tensions quickly begin to rise.
When watching smaller films, and independent horror films in particular, you want to give them a little leeway when they’ve clearly been made with limited resources. However, the filmmakers need to meet you at least halfway, and actually provide something worth the effort of forgiving their poor production values. The Snare, unfortunately, doesn’t. It tries to create and maintain an atmosphere of pervading tension, but through its unrealised premise, uneventful plot and simple lack of any real story, it utterly fails to hold your attention.
Central character Alice endures a few weird dreams that look like cut footage from a goth rock music video, but as there is no apparent association between their surreal events and the scenes they punctuate, they remain as meaningless as pretty much everything else that takes place. The film begins with some unspoken insinuations that Alice’s dad uses her as an incestuous surrogate for her presumably dead mother, but these are developed no further than the uncomfortable initial scene and have no bearing on the rest of the story. The only concession to character introspection is the nihilistic pronouncements she periodically scrawls in her diary that – guess what? – don’t mean anything.
Ominous music is applied to innocuous camera shots in an attempt to infuse them with menace, but the disparity between what it suggests you should be feeling and what you are only emphasises that nothing at all is actually happening. It’s also difficult to get a read on how much time is supposed to have passed between scenes, especially as relationships descend from mild irritation to blazing fury one scene to the next.
It’s a bizarre situation for a film to have a story that’s simultaneously straightforward yet confusing; the intended ambiguity over whether some supernatural force is at work fails to convince, while the only memorable events are some unpleasant set-pieces that are more spiteful than disturbing. It’s an ambitious enough attempt look at deteriorating sanity and the extremes to which people can descend when trapped together in a confined space, but there’s not enough connection between what the film is trying to say and what it actually shows. It does, admittedly, have a couple of good jump scares, but that’s not nearly enough when it’s all a film has to recommend it.
THE SNARE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: C.A. COOPER / STARRING: EAOIFA FORWARD, DAN PATON, RACHEL WARREN / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 6TH (US)