release year: 2004
genre: drama/horror
viewing setting: home DVD, 3/7/05

synopsis: A twisted but clever killer places his victims in elaborate traps that require certain sacrifices if the victim wants to live.

impressions: I really didn't want to watch this, but it wasn't bad like I thought it would be. The plot is a little convoluted, linking several death-traps together, and they are gruesome (cut into living person's stomach to find key to save your jaw from being blown open, cut your own foot off to get out of chain and escape, run through razor wire before timer goes off and closes exit door forever.) There was plenty of gore, and plot twists aplenty including a big one at the end. My one problem is a common one: when someone's planning to kill you and then you get their gun, there is only one acceptable course of action (hint: it does not involve talking or making a cautious retreat, much less being careless and taking your eyes off the killer.)

things to watch for: The killer's many demented death-traps.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A jaw-removing helmet bomb (just in case the viewer doesn't get it, a demonstration is included.)

acting: Cary Elwes is good as a doctor who wakes up in one of the death-traps. Danny Glover whispered a lot and did some stupid things that led to deaths. Leigh Whannell is Elwes' cellmate, who goes from annoying to rational even as Elwes breaks down.

final word: Good, gripping thriller.

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