Review: 'I Trapped the Devil' Promises A True Christmas From Hell

Have you ever made that unannounced trip to a relative's house for the holidays? Of course, we all have. Some of us even have that routine memorized. Stop by, check to make sure they are doing well, exchange those awkward pleasantries mixed with equally awkward silences. You know, the usual. But have you ever occasionally noticed they're acting a little sketchier than usual? Kind of like they might be hiding something from you. Well Josh Lobo's feature directorial debut I Trapped the Devil from IFC Midnight will help you relive that nightmare scenario...but with a little twist.

We start with Matt (AJ Bowen) and his wife Karen (Susan Burke) showing up unannounced at Matt's family home which is now occupied by his estranged brother Steve (Scott Poythress) to spend a little quality time for the holidays. Instead of the usual holiday warmth and cheer they are greeted by a strange feeling that something just isn't quite right. Steve eventually justifies their concern and confides in his brother that he has the Devil himself trapped in the basement.

Is Steve slowly descending into madness? Is Satan himself residing behind that padlocked, crucifix adorned door? Does he actually have an innocent man held hostage? All valid questions and I'm not entirely sure myself but judging by that smooth voice emanating from the darkness I know which one I'm putting my money on.

I think every fan of the genre should give this one a try, but I am going to go ahead and say right now that this film is one that will probably only truly be enjoyed by a very specific contingent of horror fans, myself included. For the type of film this was, I thought it was executed well. At times during the first act it feels like it drags a little but the second act will keep you guessing. Everything from the set design to the cinematic shots and the ominous notes in place of a soundtrack set the foreboding tone for this slow-burn, arthouse horror flick.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5