Director    Roland Joff�
Starring    Elisha Cuthbert, Daniel Gillies, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Michael Harney, Laz Alonso
Release    July 13th (US) June 22nd (UK)    Certificate 18
3 stars


28th June 2007

Poor old Elisha Cuthbert has made a career out of getting kidnapped, chased and held at the mercy of a madman, so it's no surprise to see her playing the damsel in distress once more. This time, she's on the receiving end of some serious punishment in Roland Joffe's Captivity - a fairly straightforward thriller featuring some stomach-churning torture scenes, intense psychological torment and lots and lots of LOUD NOISES designed to make your sphincter clench. Jack Bauer can't save you this time, little girl...

Cuthbert plays Jennifer Tree, a model-cum-socialite whose face and body can be seen on perfume ads, TV stations and billboards around the world. It seems she has an admirer, because one night she's abducted by a stranger at a nightclub and wakes up locked in a dark basement, in which she's subject to all sorts of horrific mental and physical anguish. In next door's cell is Gary (Daniel Gillies), a strapping young lad who's also being tormented by an unseen nutjob.

Captivity gets off to a plodding start and appears to be nothing more than an identikit horror/thriller - most scenes in the first half hour are consecutive acts of torture, cut one after another, with no plot driving them forward. There's some real nasty stuff on offer here: Jennifer is forced to drink human body parts out of a blender (guaranteed to turn your belly) and scrubs up under an acid shower, amongst other twisted punishments (in other words, it's exactly the kind of treatment you hoped Paris Hilton might have faced whilst in prison). It's odd to think there are guys in Hollywood who literally get paid to think of this kind of fucked up stuff, but there you are.

More often than not, however, our hooded killer is just playing mind games with his pretty little plaything and she comes to no physical harm, leaving you wondering if there's ever going to be a truly satisfying payoff. Cuthbert is game - she's a seasoned pro at this sort of thing already - but with no real danger, there's no real tension. There are plenty of cool set-ups (most of them seen in the trailer) but they mostly come to nothing.

Just when you think you're going to have to sit through another Saw/Hostel knock-off - pretty young Americans are made to suffer for their sins by an evil genius etc. - Captivity throws quite the curveball at you and changes pace at around the hour mark. Needless to say, I can't reveal the details, but it takes a big gamble in shifting focus from victim to perpetrator, and while it doesn't quite strike the tone it was looking for, it's a bold move that should be applauded. It certainly saves the movie from being bogged down in relentless scenes of torture and grime.

It's all supremely silly of course - Jennifer's hair and wardrobe handily change for almost every scene - and it's peppered full of gaping plot holes and predictable plot twists which you'll see coming a mile off. Nonetheless, there's something about Captivity that'll keep you watching until the end; it could be your morbid curiosity, perhaps it's a sick bloodlust, or maybe, just maybe, it's because Elisha Cuthbert is clad in a low-cut dress at all times. My money's on all three.

Follow us on Twitter @The_Shiznit for more fun features, film reviews and occasional commentary on what the best type of crisps are.
We are using Patreon to cover our hosting fees. So please consider chucking a few digital pennies our way by clicking on this link. Thanks!

Share This