Trap, The / La gabbia (1985)

4.0 out of 5

Tony Musante stars as Michael, an advertising executive in a hum-drum marriage. When he discovers a lover, Marie played by Laura Antonelli, he abandoned 15 years ago lives in the building, he picks up with her where they left off. Unfortunately he doesn’t know that the last decade and a half have left her obsessed and crazed, and he soon find himself entrapped in a sexual game with her and her daughter Jacqueline, Bianca Marsillach.

Penned by Lucio Fulci and Actor-Director Francesco Barilli, The Trap mines territory that would be given the blockbuster treatment two years later in Fatal Attraction. Many dismiss the film as a knockoff, despite the chronological logic, and it is entirely more. The Trap is intensely sexual, and Laura Antonelli, without ever doffing her clothes, out sexes Glenn Close by a mile. The only puzzler is why so many women, Laura, Jacqueline, and his wife Helene played by Florinda Bolkan, would be so intensely interested in Musante’s ad man. He’s not incredibly sexy, and both his present actions and sexual perversions with a young Laura, played by Bianca Marsillach’s sister Cristina, portray Michael as a slimy deviant.

Director Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, who more often functioned as a writer, has a knack with sexy material that he proved in 1971’s Tis a Pity She’s a Whore, and he applies those same skills again. Though the action in the film takes place primarily in one closed off location, Griffi makes the most of camera angles and well timed flashbacks to broaden the narrative. The soundtrack by Ennio Morricone leans toward his more experimental and atmospheric work, and this departure enhances the film’s unsettling erotic tone. For fans of suspense or Italian film in general, The Trap is indispensable viewing.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics