Trunk: Locked In (2024)

The tough thing about making a thriller centered entirely around a confined setting is that you have to kind of build something new with every plot beat or else it wears thin easily. While “Trunk: Locked In” could be confused with the previous year trunk-centric thriller “The Call,” Marc Schießer’s “Trunk” is much more about the victim within the trunk of a car. The majority of the movie’s script spends time only only trying to figure out the hows but the whys and inevitability of what might happen in this circumstance all the while she’s stuck in a trunk forced to deal with a faceless entity that has in their clutches.

Malina awakens from darkness to the realization that she’s stuck inside the trunk of a car. Trying to get her bearings, Malina is locked ion by a mysterious stranger who proceeds to close and lock the lid, trapping Malina in a virtual endurance test of horrors. To make matters worse, she overhears the driver making plans for a 4:30 a.m. rendezvous at which point his partner can “have whatever’s left of her.” Thankfully Malina still has her cell phone and a mobile camera that may contain images of the captor. Now, with her boyfriend Enno missing and her family less than helpful, Malina must turn to her only ally: a friendly police officer determined to get her home safe.

Although Malina does spend time with a police officer over the phone who helps her mastermind her way out of the trunk, about ninety seven percent of the movie is filmed within the confines of the terrible space where she has to both figure out how to survive, while also trying to escape. Is she being trafficked? Is an ex-lover taking her to a hiding spot? Is it someone connected to her parents or her boyfriend? In either case, a lot of the film revolves around the claustrophobic setting with Malina trying to race against the clock to find someone that can help her. Her only escape is the small hole within the trunk door which allows her to gather some kind of idea as to where she is, and what she could do to find someone, anyone, to get her out of her predicament.

Despite the strong turn from Sina Martens, “Trunk” delivers with dwindling results as the assembly of elements to discover why she’s in the trunk slowly destroys the film’s inherent tension and anxiety. Factor that in with the mystery that unfolds that doesn’t entirely paint Malina in a positive light and it becomes less and less easier to empathize or root for her. The photography matched with the sharp editing allow for us to feel about as suffocated and confined as Malina, sometimes far too well, and there’s an underlying sense of hopelessness the more the narrative unfolds.

Nevertheless, “Trunk: Locked In” is a tightly wound and very well directed, if just okay, thriller that will test the endurance of claustrophobes and taphophobes alike.