This one gets a little intense.

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The Snare is possibly the first movie of 2017 I think is truly exceptional. Director C.A. Cooper does an excellent job in this taut thriller. Audiences are highly divided on this one, and you will either love or hate the film. The more intense aspects of the narrative are going to potentially push away a lot of viewers, but those who stick with it are in for a unique experience.

The Snare follows three friends as they make their way to a weekend getaway. Alice (Eaoifa Forward) is one of the more interesting protagonists I have seen recently. There is something wrong with Alice, but it is not entirely clear what these issues are (though they can be guessed at) until later in the film. Alice is with her childhood friend Liz (Rachel Warren) and Liz’s boyfriend, Carl (Dan Paton) to stay at a building Liz’s parents own.

In short, the three are squatting in a nice apartment for free. The tensions between the three characters is interesting, even if potentially off-putting. Each of the characters has some sort of defect within their personality—I say defect for lack of a better word. Alice is clearly suffering from PTSD, and this manifests in interesting ways. She is the most educated (or at least smartest) of the group, but shuts down when Carl advances on her. Liz is incredibly childlike, and it is hard to determine how old she is meant to be. Liz’s naiveté toward Carl is something that forecasts later disaster.

Carl is possibly the most reprehensible character in a film of recent times. He is an angry, violent, and disturbed man. Carl is relentlessly sexual with Liz, and when Liz isn’t in the room his gaze turns to Alice. Carl’s sexual obsession manifests in an obsession with fecal material as well.

It is certainly arguable that all three of the characters have experienced some sort of trauma. The audience is shown Alice’s traumatic past, but Carl’s sexual fixation on human waste could indicate past trauma, as could Liz’s stilted maturity. Trauma, and the manifestations of trauma are interesting undercurrents to the entire film.

Once the trio arrives, they become trapped on the top floor of the apartment building. Here is potentially the most problematic portion of the narrative for eagle-eyes viewers. The apartment complex contains a patio that looks like it could be descended, and efforts to break down the door to the staircase seem somewhat lackluster. Personally, I believe it is the supernatural presence that is somehow keeping these things from being possible. For example, when Carl tries to make a rope to descend the building he is briefly distracted and the rope drops away.

The supernatural presence that locks them in the apartment does little else—hunger and thirst become the issues the characters must face. The three face a slow death, and the group psychology breaks down in increasingly disturbing ways. The film is a slow burner, and the violence comes in sudden and shocking fashion.

Few films can actually surprise me, but The Snare delivers on brutal and shocking scenes that propel the narrative forward with deep implications about trauma, grief, and guilt. The entire film could be a manifestation of trauma, but it is not clear in the end. Instead, the film chooses to leave the viewer without all the answers and with a sickening implication that will leave you haunted. This movie is a horror-fan horror film. 10/10

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