out of Five
Running time: 91
You have to wonder whether Spirit Trap would have gone straight to DVD if Billie Piper hadn’t suddenly become a hot property thanks to her work on Doctor Who. That said, Spirit Trap is by no means as bad as other recent British horror movies (Long Time Dead springs to mind), but it should have been a lot better.
Five students move into a massive house without questioning whether or not the cheap price might have something to do with grisly murders which were committed there. Billie plays Jennie, an art student who seems to have inherited psychic powers from her recently deceased mother. The other students in the house include Tom (Luke Mably), a cocky drug dealer who likes his live-in girlfriend Adele (Emma Catherwood) to punch him in the face during sex.
When strange things start happening in the house (their mobile phones stop working, Tom’s stash disappears, a ouija board tells them that they’re all going to die, that sort of thing) they eventually twig that it has something to do with the spirit clock which started working when they all walked in. As the spirits turn the housemates against each other, Jennie has to use her psychic powers to figure out the secret of the house before it’s too late.
To be fair, Billie, Luke Mably and Sam Troughton are all fine actors and they do their best with the risible script, although there are an awful lot of scenes that involve Jennie explaining things to the other characters which gets quite laughable after a while. Bad performances by some of the other actors occasionally undoes the good work of the other actors (Mably, in particular, makes an excellent scumbag).
However, the film’s not a total disaster. The set is intriguing and believably atmospheric and there are one or two good scenes, such as when they try and leave the house.
The main problem with the film lies in the script. The dialogue is unconvincing and the plot is both guessable and familiar. It’s also quite badly directed in places for example, there’s a flashback scene quite late in the movie that’s meant to be a shocking reveal but Smith completely bungles it, rendering the whole scene pointless.
In short, Spirit Trap has ‘straight to DVD’ written all over it, though Billie does enough to suggest that a big screen career may be hers for the taking once she’s done messing around with Time Lords. Ultimately, the film could have used a couple of rewrites and a better director, though it’s watchable enough if you like that sort of thing.