REVIEW: The Snare
– By Dave Dubrow
C A Cooper’s The Snare is wrenching and unpleasant, which is, I gather, the point. Overall, the movie is well-done, with great performances, a terribly bleak setting, and practical effects that keep your stomach turning in a slow roll throughout the running time; and yet it’s so entirely nihilistic, so completely without warmth, that you may find yourself wanting it to end long before the final credits roll. In this respect, the film inadvertently asks the age-old question: what’s the ultimate purpose of any movie? To entertain? To elicit an emotional reaction?
The film’s three characters are deliberately unlikable: the fragile, quite probably batshit-crazy Alice; Alice’s annoying, party-girl friend Lizzy; and Lizzy’s unbearably slimy boyfriend Carl, who steals the show as the person you’d most want in the world to be sent on a one-way trip to the Andromeda Galaxy. They find themselves locked in the top floor of a vacation apartment building (holiday flats to my friends in the UK) with nobody to help them for miles around, and deal with their situation in variously unacceptable ways.
Agonizingly slow in the beginning, transitioning to just glacial in the middle, the film sets up a confusing mix of themes: is what’s happening to these horrible people supernatural in nature? Is it all in Alice’s head? Is she experiencing hallucinations or visions? What’s with the child sexual abuse: is it to make the viewing experience even more disgusting, or is there a deeper purpose? As we’re seeing in films more and more these days, the writer/director revels in ambiguity.
There are scenes in the movie that I found myself saying, “No, don’t…don’t do that,” in a vain effort to stop the appalling goings-on, something I haven’t done since watching Takashi Miike’s Audition. I won’t give them away; you really have to see this movie for yourself to determine where your line is drawn: at the first fifteen minutes where nothing really happens? Later, when the desperation kicks in?
Did I like it? More importantly, will you like it? Even days after having seen it, with its various components filtering through a week of consideration, I can’t say. Hence the question regarding the film’s purpose. Every movie is going to be somebody’s favorite, and The Snare wasn’t mine. But it doesn’t have to be. Do me a favor: grab yourself a copy, watch it all alone (on an empty stomach), and tell me what you thought of it at The Slaughtered Bird.