February 2, 2012

Filthy Review - Trespass

Trespass (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

It is purely coincidental that at the time of writing this review genre magazine Fangoria has Nicolas Cage emblazoned across its front cover. I honestly never thought I would see that day, but in all honesty whilst Cage is not necessarily known for his out-and-out horror, he has flirted frequently with the genre. As one of the biggest names in acting he certainly is not one to shy away from taking risks. From the batshit craziness of Drive Angry, which I still maintain is a fantastic flick, to the sleazy world of snuff movies in 8mm, you can always be assured that for every big budget mainstream flick he makes, he will also throw in something a little off the wall. Mind you, he did make his name starring in movies such as Birdy, Wild at Heart and Rumblefish, so I guess we should not be surprised.

Trespass has Cage once again working with 8mm director Joel Schumacher in what basically boils down to a straightforward home invasion movie. It’s a sub-genre that when executed correctly can be truly terrifying, with films such as the Spanish entry Kidnapped (Secuestrados), which is a real sledgehammer of a flick, to slightly more accessible faire such as the Liv Tyler scare-a-thon The Strangers. The genre taps into a really primal fear of what would happen if people held you hostage in your own home. Your house is your only real sanctuary in this world, so to have it violated should, if done correctly, really get under your skin.

Starring alongside Cage in Trespass is the equally unpredictable, but again another risk-taker, Nicole Kidman and newcomer Liana Liberato, who was terrific in the David Schwimmer flick Trust, as wife and daughter to Cage’s diamond dealer. Their family is not, as is often the case, the most functional we will ever see; Kyle Miller (Cage) is wrapped up in his work, Sarah (Kidman) is neglected and downtrodden as his wife and Avery (Liberato) is your typical teen rebel. They act like passing ships in the night, living in their huge fortress of a house. I don’t call the house a fortress for nothing, it’s rigged up with an incredibly hi-tech security system to keep the family safe.

However, despite all the hi-tech gadgetry at the Miller’s disposal, a gang of intruders do make it into the house. Apparently all you need to do is pose as a police officer and stand really close to the security camera in order to fool the occupants of this house. So begins a violent hostage situation with the gang, which include Cam Gigandet and Ben Mendelsohn, making their demands of Kyle and his family.

Trespass really is a strange film to watch. On the one hand the situation in which Kyle and his family find themselves is quite unnerving to watch. There are sudden scenes of violence, which although is not especially graphic, still manage to be effective, and then we have Cage giving a restrained, but still over-the-top, performance in which his dialogue is quite ridiculous at times. At one stage he resorts to calling the attackers an “assfuck” and shithole” which only served to make me chuckle. He character displays a strange blend of bravado and fear which at times make it strange viewing. Kidman’s character seems to run on autopilot throughout, and as such delivers a performance which is below her usual decent standards. The cast as a whole though do give decent enough performances, although the script, and its various twists and turns, contrive to make the situation they find themselves in a little comical at times.

As is often the case with a Joel Schumacher film, Trespass is a real mixed bag. There are times when the film works very well, and then there are scenes which only serve to undo any good work that has gone before. The aforementioned Kidnapped is a far better example of the home invasion movie, and I suggest you check that out, whereas Trespass is definitely a movie for Cage fans and genre completists. The credits start at about an hour and twenty five minutes though, so you don’t have to worry about the film dragging, because it doesn’t.

Trespass is a strange film that comes with a cautious recommendation. If you can put up with the flaws I mention you may enjoy it, if not you might want to give it a swerve.

Trespass is available now on Bl-ray and DVD through Millennium Entertainment

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