Trunk Crime (1939)

Articel 3746 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-4-2011
Posting Date: 11-16-2011
Directed by Ray Boulting
Featuring Manning Whiley, Barbara Everest, Michael Drake
Country: UK
What it is: Crime thriller

A chemistry student reaches the end of his rope when his room is wrecked by his tormentor with the help of drunken friends. The student hatches a scheme to get his revenge; he give his tormentor a drink that paralyzes him, and then locks him in a trunk with the intention of disposing it in a marshy area, thus burying his tormentor alive. However, things don’t go as smoothly as he hopes…

The notion of being buried alive is the horror element here, though the paralyzing drink may be in the realm of science fiction as well. Nonetheless, this is more of a crime thriller than a horror movie. It’s efficiently told (the movie runs about fifty minutes) and it has a nice sense of paranoid intensity, though the main character is played perhaps a touch too broadly. Some of the angled camerawork is quite striking, and there is some real suspense in the final moments when we’re not sure how it’s going to play out. However, the movie is marred by a certain awkwardness, and it has an ending that, though interesting, seems very unlikely and stretches the credibility. All in all, this one has its moments, but it doesn’t quite work.


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