Evil Dead Trap

Evil Dead Trap (1988)
Synapse Films
Cast: Miyuki Ono, Yuji Honma, Aya Katsuragi
Extras: Commentary Track, Theatrical Trailer

Synapse Films seems to make Japanese horror films regular part of its release schedules and with ’Evil Dead Trap’, this independent studio serves up another cult genre favorite. The movie is a Japanese variation of Italian giallo movies that made Dario Argento famous. A news anchor receives a video tape that depicts the brutal torture and murder of a young woman. Shocked by the images she assembles a crew and follows the footsteps depicted in the video, which lead to an old factory, but as the title suggests, the video tape has been an evil dead trap, and the killer has only been waiting for the news people to arrive on the scene so he can cut them wide open one by one.

’Evil Dead Trap’ is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation on this DVD that isnot enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The image is generally good and the print is mostly free of scratches or other blemishes. However, some registration problems are evident, causing the image to jitter visibly on occasion. Colors are strong and natural looking, although the film contains a number of highly over-exposed shots – deliberately so, I suspect. It appears some noise reduction has been applied to the transfer, as it appears somewhat soft and washed out at times. The transfer shows good and solid blacks, although shadow definition is somewhat lost. The film has been compressed quite well, although the innate film grain introduces occasional pixelation artifacts.

The disc features the movie’s original Japanese audio track in a 2-channel mono presentation that is complemented by English subtitles. The track is clean and clear without notable defects or deficiencies. An audio commentary by director Toshiharu Ikeda and special effects manager Shinichi Wakasa can also be found on the disc, but it comes across a little lifeless and uninspired with long gaps between scenes. Many of the comments reiterate what we see on the screen, although a few of them cover more detailed background information.

For fans of the movie, this DVD is certainly a great way to finally immortalize this film in their library in unprecedented quality. While it is not a bad flick, it quickly loses much of its initial appeal and turns into standard slasher and giallo fare with plenty of sexual subtext. Still, given the great presentation, it is definitely worth checking out.