The Girl in the Trunk review – claustrophobic car-boot kidnap thriller

Estimated read time 2 min read

This claustrophobic thriller takes place almost entirely in the boot of a rented car moving down an empty Texas highway. Bride Amanda (Katharina Sporrer), still in her floofy white wedding dress, is trapped inside the vehicle, having been kidnapped at the parking garage where she was dropping off the rented car she used to run away from her own wedding. Luckily for both her and the film, she has her mobile phone to hand and manages to make some calls, first to what she thinks is emergency services, only to realise she’s actually speaking to her kidnapper (Caspar Phillipson). Who doesn’t hate it when that happens?

Despite the all-American setting and accents, this was made by a Danish film company, led by writer-director Jonas Kvist Jensen, whose filmography consists of lots of shorts and two features of a horror/thriller persuasion, mostly in Danish. Just spitballing here, but given the English dialogue it looks like this is a calling card of sorts, perhaps demonstrating Jensen’s skills with editing, writing, suspense-building and so on. But while Sporrer in the lead role is fairly credible, a lot of the line readings by the rest of the cast are stilted in a way that a more experienced or native speaker would have picked up on. The result is that all the other characters except Amanda sound as if they’re in a radio play rather than an actual film. The script is also a bit sketchy and vague when it comes to the big reveals about motivation, as if Jensen isn’t really interested in those details, but instead how to get the camera angles and lighting right.

At least Sporrer’s Amanda is quite easy to root for, given she laudably tamps down her panic instincts and finds ways to cope when her captor starts putting deadly animals into the boot: first a scorpion and later a rattlesnake. Given that strength of character, poor Amanda (even though we learn she’s got major daddy issues) deserves to at least be called the woman in the trunk, rather than the girl.


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