The Human Trap, a 2021 film by director Lee Moon-young, is a bizarre South Korean indie horror movie that teaches us to trust no one and always look out for traps. While it starts with the fairly generic premise of a group of twenty-somethings going camping in the middle of nowhere, it takes the audience places they never thought and manages to blend tried and true horror tropes with suspenseful storytelling—leaving viewers entertained until the very end.

Set almost entirely at a remote campsite in the wilderness, The Human Trap skips over needless exposition and overly complicated setup and gets right into the thick of it right away. Right off the bat, we are introduced to our four main characters- a shy young med student, a sullen young woman with a mysterious past, an eager (and perhaps a bit shallow) cafe owner, and his sweet but ditzy employee. The foursome set off into the woods under the guidance of the campsite’s manager in hopes of adventure, bonding, and romance. From early on, it becomes clear that the characters don’t exactly have chemistry together and their interactions feel at times stilted and forced. Whether this is on purpose or a result of overacting is unclear, but their awkwardness feels purposeful and adds nicely to the tension of being alone in the wilderness at a campsite surrounded by “boar” traps.


No sooner does our hapless foursome get set up at camp when they are accosted by a disturbed man wielding a cleaver. But the maniac with the cleaver might not be the biggest threat, as it seems everyone in this film has ulterior motives for being at the campsite. It doesn’t take long for things to go horribly wrong and while the use of the common horror premise of a group of friends stranded in the woods with someone malevolent watching their every move (think Friday the 13th or The Ritual) may have you thinking you know where this film is going, you most definitely don’t as the twists keep coming in this fast-paced thriller.

Where indie horror films often fall short is in trying to emulate a blockbuster film on a modest budget. The Human Trap avoids this by opting for a simple set, classic practical effects, and a narrative-driven plot that makes the most out of what it does have: a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and characters with hidden agendas galore. While the acting does feel a bit over the top sometimes, with almost comedic overreactions and awkward interactions between characters, it adds to rather than detracts from the overall bonkers atmosphere of this film. Even the practical effects manage to keep from feeling gimmicky with clever camerawork and limited implementation of blood and gore.


With multiple twists, The Human Trap cleverly manages to keep the multiple storylines from becoming convoluted and messy and uses flashbacks to fill in gaps that might otherwise have been glaring plot holes. The overall tense and somewhat unbalanced atmosphere lends itself well to a film where you’re never too sure whose side to be on.

While indie horror films aren’t for everyone, they do hold a special place within the horror genre and The Human Trap is no exception. Whether it’s the delightful overacting, the use of a classic premise, or the intertwining storylines, this film has a certain charm to it and manages to be fresh and exciting from start to finish. Whether you’re an indie horror aficionado or a newcomer to the genre, The Human Trap is a prime example of why indie horror films have such a cult following and it is well worth a watch. Just remember: always watch out for traps.

The Human Trap (2021) is available to watch online on Amazon Prime now.

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