Morbidly Beautiful

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This British horror film may not be mainstream fare, but it’s a treat for the right audience — especially those craving something different.

Wow. Where do I even start with The Snare?

I guess it’s prudent to say right away that this movie will not be for everyone. Indeed, if you read the reviews online, they are pretty split between people who loved it and people who hated it. And I can understand that completely.

The Snare (aka The Hellion, UK Title)  is not an easy film to define.

If you go into it expecting a straight-ahead horror filled with action, you’re gonna be disappointed. If you aren’t a fan of arthouse horror, you may well be bored or angry at the disjointed storyline.

However, if, like me, arthouse horror is your wheelhouse, then C.A. Cooper’s The Snare has a lot to offer.

I always find it hard to review these movies without spoilers, and that is especially true for this one, so please bear with me if this is vague. 

The film follows childhood friends Alice (Eaoifa Forward) Lizzy (Rachel Warren) and Lizzy’s boyfriend Carl (Dan Patton) as they go to stay in a seaside flat for a break. The movie is largely set in one space, the flat, and the runtime is very much focused on these three characters. Cooper shows them driving through some stunning open countryside to reach their destination, which contradicts beautifully with the claustrophobia to come.

After arriving at the block of flats, the trio enters a top-floor flat and proceeds to settle in. Unfortunately, they awaken to find that the elevators have been shut off and the door to the stairs is locked. To make matters worse, neither the landline nor their mobiles are working.

Is someone fucking with them as Carl believes, or is it just an unfortunate series of circumstances as Alice says?

Either way, they are in trouble as they have a very limited supply of food, and soon after the water stops running as well.

I am not going to try to go any further into the plot, as I believe you are best off seeing this one with a fresh pair of eyes.

But I do want to talk about the direction, acting, and overall viewing experience.

I read some criticism of the acting and dialogue, and I honestly can’t understand the basis for that criticism. Eaoifa Forward especially is superb in this. She captured the troubled Alice so well. This film is very British in dialogue, so I wonder if some of the criticism was from non-Brits who don’t quite get that, yes, we are not all posh and nice cup of tea vicar.

The dialogue in this rang pretty true to me, and the characters were believable.

As a Brit, I love seeing modern British horror made by a UK filmmaker. So often what we get is a US idea of how the UK looks and sounds, or at best, a period piece. It’s glorious to see a proper UK holiday flat and an insular community shop. I do wonder how well it will translate to a non-British audience who aren’t used to some of the colloquialisms used, however.

As with much of arthouse horror, this is not a film you enjoy; rather, it’s one you experience.

In places, this was a hard watch.

It’s often brutal, and there are a LOT of trigger events, including but not limited to childhood abuse. However, unlike some movies of its type, it certainly isn’t plotless. In fact, it follows a fairly typical and somewhat ‘tropey’ genre structure, all be it in a more disjointed manner than your typical horror film.

I have to mention the make-up effects as well. It is exceptionally well done and a visual treat.

Yes, in places The Snare tries too hard and is bound to divide audiences, even among fans of arthouse horror. For me, however, it was well worth the watch. And I have no problem recommending this film to those open-minded viewers who typically embrace films a bit off the beaten path.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3.5
The Snare is available to stream in the US for free with ads on Vudu and Tubi. In the UK, it’s available under the title The Hellion on Amazon Prime. 

If you’re in the mood for something different, and you have an appetite for arthouse horror, The Snare offers a blend of paranormal, psychological, and survival horror that is odd but intriguing. This isn’t popcorn fare, and it’s not a “fun” movie by any means. Chock full of confrontational content and intentionally uncomfortable scenes, this slow-burning nightmare asks a lot of its viewers. But there’s enough hypnotic mood, visual style, and compellingly weird content that I can recommend a watch for those who think that description sounds more appealing than repelling.