Captivity


Recent horror spectacles such as “Saw” and “Hostel” grew into popular franchises because they succeeded in combining their excessive illustrations of torture with a halfway decent story. But such is not the case for “Captivity,” a film that completely ignores the importance of plot and suspense and thus fails to provide anything that would keep its audience from fleeing the auditorium.

Kidnapped from a nightclub and locked up inside an isolated room, top model Jennifer (Elisha Cuthbert) quickly discovers that she’s the latest victim of a killer who takes perverted pleasure in torturing young women. From an acid shower to a cocktail of blood and intestines, Jennifer must endure the worst of physical and psychological abuse. Her only hope during her captivity is Gary (Daniel Gillies), another prisoner who helps her find a way to escape.

Helmed by Roland JoffĂ©, who directed the critically acclaimed “The Killing Fields” and “City of Joy,” “Captivity” is nothing short of a poorly constructed horror flick that serves absolutely no purpose. Larry Cohen‘s script overflows with scenes of pointless violence and abuse, which early on weakens hopes for a diverse, coherent plot. Likewise, the irritating editing that includes fade-outs after each torture scene serves only to kill off any potential for suspense.

Like so many modern horror movies these days, “Captivity” tries to trick its audience into buying a big twist toward the ending. But the surprise is not much of a surprise at all, primarily because most of the plot is crippled by a lack of logic and cleverness. The movie never reaches a consistent flow, and although it picks up on some minor pace during the last 10 minutes, never provides its spectators with something to be thrilled about.

You may expect Cuthbert to be much familiarized with playing a captive after starring in “24”, but her performance in “Captivity” is amateurish and empty of emotions. Although she is not to be held responsible for the lamentable character development in the movie, Cuthbert never comes across as a convincing victim. Nobody really cares why she’s been abducted, how she copes with the sadistic games, or whether she’s going to live or die.

Creeping at the bottom of the list of poorly constructed horror flicks, “Captivity” is not only bad, but also quite boring. A plot is practically non-existent, and watching Cuthbert utter a few screams or sharing a ridiculous love scene with Gillies, turns out to be less engaging than expected. The movie’s controversial advertising campaign angered a lot of people even before the final cut hit theatres. Now “Captivity” is pissing off everyone who dares to sit through it.

Review by Franck Tabouring