Marc Schießer’s feature film Trunk: Locked In is a gory, claustrophobic ride where a 28-year-old woman finds herself trapped in the locked trunk of a moving car.
Malina (Sina Martens) is trapped inside the trunk of a moving car, speeding down country roads, unable to be tracked by local authorities. All she has is a mobile phone, which is rapidly losing its battery, and a video camera which holds memories from her past that she’s let slip. She makes continuous calls to the police, her dad, and boyfriend Enno (Artjom Gilz). No one can figure out where Malina is, and when her cell service changes from being in Germany to being in Czechia, the search becomes even harder. Trunk: Locked In is a claustrophobic thriller full of twists and turns, demanding every ounce of your attention.
28-year-old medical student Malina is our protagonist. She’s the centre of attention for the majority of the 96 minute runtime, with the driver of the car only seen briefly, and the voices on the phone never making an appearance. Malina makes countless calls to the police, and with each call, they get closer and closer to tracking her. But time is running out. She learns that her father has been asked for a ransom by the driver, furthering her suspicions that this wasn’t just a random kidnapping. With her memory deteriorating each minute, and the drugs in her system not allowing her to think straight, she must figure out a way for the authorities to find her before it’s too late.
Single location films can sometimes feel very narrow, with limited space for characters to run around in or try to hide away from whatever evil spirit is chasing them. In Trunk: Locked In, the one and only location is in, well, the trunk of a car. Whilst some single location films are in large houses like in You’re Next or Clue, with characters sprinting from room to room to try and find the killer, Trunk: Locked In plays out more like Buried or Devil. It’s one tiny confined space with no escape. Time is of the essence to get help, or to figure out how to bust your way out.
For the most part, it’s an atmospheric thriller. Cinematographers Daniel Ernst and Tobias Lohf do an appreciable job of making an already claustrophobic space even more daunting. Hues of red from the break lights shine over Malina’s face as she screams to anyone who may hear her on the outside. Her face holds so much emotion as she becomes increasingly terrified as the clock continues to tick. Martens embodies a frightened woman adroitly, making it seem all the more believable.
Trunk: Locked In is writer and director Marc Schießer’s first plunge into the horror genre. In fact, it’s his first feature length film. Schießer definitely has it locked down from the get-go when it comes to creating something extremely tense. It’s a film that’s been made by someone who clearly knows thrillers inside and out. It’s exciting seeing someone’s debut have this much aptitude. Countless features with similar themes, like the single, confined space, do already exist so it’s nothing new. But even when it feels like it could be a predictable narrative before clicking play as it’s been done before that many times, it still surprises you with revelations around every corner.
Trunk: Locked In will be released globally on Prime Video on January 26, 2024.