a critiQal film review Captivity (2007)

  • DVD

Plot: Top cover girl and fashion model, Jennifer Tree (Cuthbert) has it all - money, fame and power. She is America's sweetheart - she is loved and adored and sought after. Everyone wants her. But someone out there has been watching and waiting. Someone wants her in the worst way. Out alone at a charity event in Soho, Jennifer is drugged and taken. Held captive in a cell, Jennifer is subjected to a series of terrifying, life-threatening tortures that could only be conceived by a twisted, sadistic mind.

Reviewed
718 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 35s)

I saw a preview for Captivity back in July, and was a little surprised. Why would this low-budget horror flick be making the rounds during the big summer movie season? It didn’t make sense…but the previews looked interesting. While borrowing heavily from , the film looked like it could add a more personal touch to the horror genre, focusing on a psycho’s obsession with the lovely Elisha Cuthbert.

Still, I wasn’t about to spend my cash to see this in the theaters – especially right after Heather and I got married – so I figured I’d wait for DVD to find out if Captivity could live up to it’s preview. Since Heather didn’t really want to see yet another rip-off, I didn’t rush out and grab it immediately when it came to DVD. Instead, I waited for it to make it’s way to the top of our Blockbuster® list, and then sat down to check it out one night while Heather was busy training to be a pastry chef.

Elisha Cuthbert, who excelled as the scared little daddy’s girl in early seasons of ““, has grown up quite a bit since her TV days. While she was rather unimpressive in her film , most viewers probably stuck around to see her in Captivity as a horror film seemed to be more her type of role.

Unfortunately, her acting, while great for her role in ““, isn’t quite up to her being able to lead a film, as Captivity proves once again. Then again, it could be the stagnant scripts she’s choosing. Maybe she’s just jumping at the chance to headline films, and not reading the script first. Then, she reads the script and, though displeased, manages to limp her way through the film.

That seems to be the case, as her performance is lackluster at best. She’s just going through the motions, and doesn’t even care if the viewers are following along or not.

With their lead not keeping up her end of the bargain, the acting falls on the other members of the troupe to pick up the pace. Unfortunately, they apparently didn’t like the script for Captivity either. They lumber through their roles, going about their business with stone-faced rigidity, leaving the viewer to wonder if the plot will be able to recover from these performances.

Sadly, while the plot starts out well, quickly grabbing the viewer’s attention with the almost immediate snatch of supermodel Cuthbert and a couple of inventive torture sequences, the plot soon reveals itself to be nothing the viewer hasn’t seen before…although it obviously is trying to be fresh and original.

While the film does heap on the gore in certain scenes, the film tries to confuse the viewer (and the victim) by hiding the aftermath of it’s torture sequences. Captivity begins to become more about the psychological torture of it’s victim, setting the viewer up to think this could get downright twisted – and then snaps back to reality with a storyline even the casual viewer will see through almost instantly. Sadly, even the psychological buildup is shot down as the viewer can’t decide whether this is just going on in the girl’s head, or if it’s actually happening – and doesn’t much care either way.

Instead of the twisted psychological masterpiece it could be, Captivity degenerates into just another of the dime-a-dozen horror flicks that are being churned out ad naseum lately. Just like it’s preview fooled the viewers into thinking this could be interesting, so apparently did the synopsis fool the actors into signing on. Aside from one or two memorable scenes (vs. dog, the blender), this film is totally unremarkable – and entirely forgettable.

Oh, and since I wasn’t impressed with what they kept in the film, I decided to check out a couple of the deleted sequences to see what they could possibly have cut out – and couldn’t stop laughing when I discovered they originally included a very large and very fake-looking bird of some sort (supposedly a vulture). Yikes! Sounds like this movie would have benefited more if it were played in a spoof vein. Unfortunately for us, the filmmakers actually tried to play it serious – and it came out seriously bad.

Basically, if you’re looking for a good horror movie, break away from this Captivity.

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