US (dir. Roland Joffé)
Cast: Daniel Gillies, Elisha Cuthbert, Laz Alonso, Michael Harney, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Synopsis: A man and a woman awaken to find themselves captured in a cellar. As their kidnapper drives them psychologically mad, the truth about their horrific abduction is revealed.
Review: “Captivity” is your typical torture porn film which evolves from such other exploitative torture flicks like “Hostel” or “Saw”. Unfortunately, “Captivity” gives torture porn a bad name, namely because it sucks hard and Elisha Cuthbert is in it. One of the few redeeming qualities of this movie is that it does not directly borrow from any other (superior) torture porn films. It’s not a carbon copy of “Saw” because it doesn’t rely too heavily on games, exotic torture machinery, or even complicated storylines involving a character coming to terms with a past event by torturing themselves (or others) for redemption. It’s also not a carbon copy of “Hostel” because it doesn’t contain a significant amount of overly exotic and physical means of torture, and it relies more on psychological warfare (aka. mind fucking). “Captivity” tries hard to be different, and it even throws us a neat little twist (sorta) but overall it stinks.
In this movie, our unfortunate heroine (annoying twat Elisha Cuthbert), is an over-worked and probably over-paid model. After attending a charity club night, she awakens in what appears to be a caged room that is so elaborately designed its almost laughable when you discover she’s in some fat guy’s basement. She also discovers she’s not alone, and there’s a hot guy in a similar cage next door. Through the course of what I’m assuming is a couple of days, Cuthbert is continually tortured, sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, all times pointlessly. She’s forced to watch a snuff film, she shoots her dog in order to live (I think?), and she almost gets killed in a giant vertical sandbox (oh no, death by sand!). In total, almost every scene is a new torture set-up with no character development and minimalistic plot development. One of the most annoying things about this movie is the constant scene changes via drugging or black-outs. It’s almost as though the writer (Larry Cohen) couldn’t figure out a clever way to cut between scenes, so he instead just decided to knock out his main girl between EVERY SINGLE TORTURE SCENE. Even ones in which she really isn’t even being tortured! In total she’s punched out once, drugged or gased FIVE times and she randomly blacks out twice. With the amount of times she’s been drugged and gased you’d imagine she’d be a little messed up by the end of the movie. I know it may not seem like five is a large number, but to see a main character drugged/gased FIVE times is a little redundant.
Elisha Cuthbert is probably the worst actor in the world besides that annoying twit Zooey Deschanel. She has the acting capactity of piece of fruit. She’s basically in this for the eye candy, but even then it’s like… meh, I’ve seen better. She’s supposed to be portraying this hot, high caliber model. Instead she looks like a girl who models ladies bras in a Sears catalogue. She doesn’t have that model look, and she looks way too run of the mill to be taken seriously. I was waiting for there to be a part in the movie where the main girl reflects on a traumatic past or decides to make a life changing move, but instead we get squat. We don’t even really get to know this girl, she’s just devoid of any personality or back story. She’s pretty much an empty shell of a character. All we know is that she’s a model and she has a dog. Way to write a character, Larry Cohen! (On a side note, disappointing to see that Cohen couldn’t have written a better female lead considering he was responsible for writing one of the better episodes from the Masters of Horror series).
The movie’s twist is somewhat predictable, but the serial killer’s(s) motive is not (mother sexually (?) abused them, then they killed her and videotaped it with suprisingly complex cinematography). There’s a small little giveaway regarding the serial killer’s(s) identity involving teeth removal but other than that, you should really be able to pinpoint a killer (primarily due to the fact that there are only two actors in the whole first hour, so it REALLY sorta narrows down who the killer may be). The first 10 minutes of the movie are superbly done and could have easily been made into a neat little short horror film (it parallels the music video for Nine Inch Nails’ song “Pinion”), but after those 10 minutes there’s nothing left worth watching.