Director and writer Anthont Edward Curry told the Asbury Park Press, ““I always felt that TRAP was a story that needed to be told,” Curry said. “It was a movie that found itself over years of production because it was constantly morphing — because the real-life characters, they were evolving before my eyes. So I was constantly re-writing. Every day I was changing because the characters are changing in front of me.”

The title means The Real Asbury Park and it’s a story that Curry originally wrote when he was 17. How true to life is the film? Curry made national press when a video confession from former Neptune High School classmate Liam McAtasney was secretly recorded in 2017 was a key piece of evidence leading to McAtasney being found guilty of murder.

According to the New York Post, “In December 2016, artist Sarah Stern, 19, went missing and her car was found abandoned on a bridge in Belmar, NJ. In the aftermath of her disappearance, Curry remembered his high school friend Liam McAtasney, who was close with Stern, pitching an idea for a movie in which he killed a girl. He came to the shocking realization that this wasn’t a tale that simply lived in his friend’s imagination — and he went to the police, who helped him set up a sting. Curry filmed McAtasney’s chilling confession — leading to his conviction and a life sentence.”

With a cast made up of some actors, some real street people and the director himself, TRAP tells the story of a young criminal about to face life in prison and the dark path that got him there. It’s really uncompromising and if it feels lived in, obviously it is. It might be playing in this festival surrounded by horror genre films, but it truly might be one of the more frightening movies playing.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

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