You can just imagine the meeting at the film studio that lead to this movie being made.
I am sure an over fed, over paid, suited up film exec stood in a giant boardroom in L.A with a bunch of other guys who all looked exactly like him, and said “People like torture films, people like watching that chick from 24 get tortured so lets make a film combining the 2”. At which point another fatter richer guy said “I love it, you call her agent and you find me the first script containing the words stalk, cellar, blood and nudity.” And thus Captivity was made.
Opening with an obligatory gruesome torture scene carried out by an unknown psycho, we quickly move focus to glamorous super model Jennifer played by glamorous actress Elisha Cuthbert.
Soon Jennifer has been drugged and captured in the voyeuristic loonie’s lair where she is forced to view videos of other victims; undergo various forms of psychological and sensory suffering; and randomly dress up in lots of different outfits.
Uber victim Cuthbert is more than used to imprisonment and suffering, spending 2 seasons of 24 held captive by terrorists, survivalists and mountain lions.
She screams and cries convincingly as we watch nasty things happen to her and, well actually, that’s pretty much it for the first half an hour. In fact this early plotlessness leads to an uncomfortable feeling that the only purpose of the film is as a ‘Dummies guide to abduction’ or a sex vid for sickos.
Thankfully all this changes when Jennifer realises there’s a hunky guy in the cell next to her, but unfortunately from here on the film takes a nosedive into the predictable, all the way to its boringly obvious twist, and laborious finale.
Like the Saw’s, the Hostel’s, The Devil’s Rejects and Wolf Creek this movie sits firmly in the torture porn category, a genre revelling in gory scenes of brutality and ickyness and plagued by publicity.
Captivity drew controversy from its shocking ad campaign which featured pictures of Cuthbert in various nasty situations with titles including “Abduction”, “Torture” and “Termination.” The ads were eventually banned. It’s just a pity that the film wasn’t banned too, for being a crime against cinema.
Captivity, like the majority of films in this genre suffer, the same problems in that they are badly scripted, are unoriginal and the only entertainment that can be drawn from them is in witnessing the twisted acts of violence brought on the victims. When done well, as is the case with Saw, the disturbing sick scenes serve a purpose other than to scare us, as they develop the characters, further the plot and show us something about ourselves and our own moral values.
Captivity is unintelligent, lazy, gratuitous and the horror is inserted purely for shock value.
It should be avoided at all costs, not because its so sick but because it’s a boring and bad film. That is unless you have a giant fetish for watching Elisha Cuthbert being tortured in a variety of trendy outfits. And if that is the case I recommend that you spend your money on a psychiatrist instead.
Additional film information: Captivity (2007)