Steel Trap (2007)

In Japan, Steel Trap is titled Jigsaw: Tower of Death, which is appropriate, because this is nothing if not another Saw-inspired game of gore. Mind you, that’s not a complaint, even if its twist ending is telegraphed early on and executed poorly.

During a rockin’ New Year’s Eve party in an abandoned office building, seven really attractive people — including a celebrity chef and a couple of coke-snorters — are invited to the 27th floor for an invitation-only after-party. Food and drink are just the tip of the knife, too, as a clue informs them that this shindig is a treasure hunt — you know, just like those Nicolas Cage movies, but shorn of historical documents and replaced with viscera.

The table’s place settings sport not only the guests’ names, but unofficial titles like “Loser,” “Heartless” and “Two-Faced,” yet they don’t see anything wrong with that. The clues are given in nursery rhymes, yet they aren’t the least bit creeped out by them. The first one takes them to a disembodied pig’s head wearing a crown, yet they keep on going.

I won’t spoil the deaths; they’re kind of creative in that Final Destination sort of way, and that includes being utterly implausible. But realism isn’t what I ask of films like Steel Trap. Nor crisp dialogue, as this is not: “Signal blocked? What the hell’s that mean?” “It means somebody blocked the signal.” —Rod Lott

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