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Trap House (2023) Review

A trap house, I remember when they were called crack houses, is a house used for making and selling drugs. In the new Tubi Original of the same name, director Nicholas Humphries (Mermaid’s Song, Project Ithaca) and writer Jordan Robinson (Dangerous Snow Day, Requiem for a Scream) take the name literally and give us a drug den filled with lethal booby traps and a few other surprises.

After Commander Meeks’ (Jason Tremblay, Demonic, My Husband’s Killer Girlfriend) attempt to take down a trap house goes lethally wrong, Detective Grant Pierce (Jaime M. Callica, Tales from the Hood 3, Wedding Every Weekend) is called to the crime scene. As one of the other detectives snickers about one of the junkies getting their head blown clean off, Pierce realizes the dead boy is his younger brother.

He’s just the latest in a series of deaths related to a constantly moving operation run by Lethan (Bruce Crawford, Alter, Welcome to the Circle) the meth cook, and his partner Lexi (Gigi Saul Guerrero, Puppet Killer, Funhouse) and protected by all manner of traps. Pierce is determined to get his revenge, and nothing, even being kicked off the force, is going to stop him.

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When Fibs (Peter Bundic, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vault of Terror II: The Undead), the dealer he’s been leaning on for information is coerced into helping Cormac (Michael Eklund, Welcome to Sudden Death, Cold Pursuit), Roscoe (Fletcher Donovan, Wifelike, Crawlspace) and Sandy (Donna Benadicto, Supergirl, The Main Event) rob the trap house he joins the thieves to get inside.

Trap House starts off on the right foot with the bloody aftermath of a shotgun to the head and some creepy camerawork by Corey MacGregor (Psycho Intern, Murder for Sale) before another trap releases nerve gas. It6’s dark and ominous, helping to build anticipation for the film’s return to its halls.

Of course, that’s after the usual, and in this case clichéd, revealing of the character’s backstories. Fibs is dealing to keep a roof over his head and afford college after graduation since his father crawled into a bottle after his mother’s death. Pierce feels responsible for Ryan’s death after trying and failing to get him through rehab. Adding insult to injury he’s backstabbed over his handling of the case by the man he once took the fall for.

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Thankfully the filmmakers get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible and get us inside the trap house where their plans quickly go sideways leaving them trapped among the trap house’s traps. The traps themselves range from simple, a shotgun rigged to go off if a door is opened, a cinder block on a trip wire, to diabolical like a pressure-sensitive switch triggering razor wires. While they’re not as inventive or gory as those found in The Collector or the Saw franchise, they are nasty and effective.

The rest of Trap House’s plot is serviceable but fairly predictable. You can guess which characters are there just to pad the body count and who’ll be around for the final fights. The one real bit of innovation the script does have is the presence of an infant in the trap house. That leads to some complications and an unexpected subplot.

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The roles don’t call for a lot from the cast, but they do a decent job with them. Eklund goes enjoyably over the top as the psychotic Cormac, which helps liven things up. Guerrero’s character isn’t quite as one note as she first appears to be, which adds to the later part of the film.

Overall, Trap House is a fairly decent thriller with a horror edge to it. It only really stumbles in the last few scenes where we get a couple of not so surprising, or believable, revelations meant to set up a sequel. It’s a cheat and ends an otherwise capable film on a weak note.

Trap House is free to stream wherever Tubi is available. And if you want more films like this, FilmTagger can suggest a few titles.

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