Elisha Cuthbert - Jennifer Tree
Daniel Gillies - Gary
Pruitt Taylor Vince - Ben
Year - 2007
Score - 0.5 Howls Outta 4
Have you ever had that feeling that someone was constantly following you? At home? At work? At social events? Unless you're a celebrity, or Paris Hilton, this is not a feeling you should normally have. But what if it were taken one step further, to the point where this stalker drugged you and kidnapped you? How would you feel waking up in a strange room where traps await you to test your survival skills because some madman has nothing better to do?
CAPTIVITY asks and answers those questions, as Elisha Cuthbert's character has to deal with that very thing. And boy, I do not want to be in her position. Not because it's a horrible experience. It's because it's the most boring, pointless ordeal anyone will have to deal with.
Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert) is a fashion model whose has her mug all over New York City. Her life is pretty mundane and pretty much goes through the motions. She's invited to some charity party where she is drugged and kidnapped. She wakes up the next morning in some dark room that looks like her own apartment. Her captor then begins to mess with Jennifer by putting her through traps [like incasing her in sand, using high pitched soundwaves, and making her drink some crimson - yum]. Just when Jennifer is about to give up, she learns that she's not the only victim inside the underground nightmare.
CAPTIVITY has got to be one of the most pointless, ab
sinine horror films I have seen in a really, really long time. It's mean, it's bleak, it's gloomy, and it's boring. This film was so heavily hyped before it's release last summer because of the posters of Elisha Cuthbert looking tortured. The government and MPAA tried to ban the film because it could give people ideas on hurting others. You know something? I actually agree with Big Brother here. This film should have banned so I wouldn't have watched 90 minutes of my life disappear in front of my eyes. Let's just say that the hype would make a much better film than the actual product.
Supposedly a member of the "torture porn" sub-genre, CAPTIVITY is probably the tamest next to SAW and HOSTEL. The gore factor is pretty lame for a "torture" movie. Sure we see someone get burnt by acid being poured on them. But other than that, nothing else happens! Jennifer gets stuck in a glass box where sand pours on her. Wow, color me scared. Or what about the fact that she gets a funnel in her mouth and she has to chug blood with some body parts mixed in? Okay, that's gross but cannibal movies make that kind of stuff much more effective. It's a pretty lame concept here, as Jennifer is never really tortured much. It's just a more extreme form of prison. I don't understand the hype behind it all. And I saw the UNRATED version of the film. I can't imagine the RATED version. Was there any difference because I couldn't really tell? It's never tense. Nor suspenseful. Nor scary. It's just dementedly stupid. No wonder this made no money at the box office. For once, mainstream America made the right call.
Roland Joffe directs a really boring film here. The pacing is totally off, as there are random fade-ins and fade-outs for no reason whatsoever. Like I mentioned before, Joffe never builds any tension or any scares. It's just a really blah directorial job. And Joffe is a very good director [see THE KILLING FIELDS and tell me he's not]. I don't know what happened here. Not even Uwe Boll would want to direct this film and that's saying something. I do admit that the picture looks nice and clear, which is due to great cinematography. If you like that sort of thing, then you might like this a lot more than I did.
The story/screenplay was also uninspired. Apparently the creators were trying to do a SAW-like film and pretty much failed. None of the characters are intelligent. None of the characters are sympathetic. We don't know these people long enough to care about them or care about their situation. They are caricatures of other horror characters that we have grown to know and love. For example, Jennifer is supposed to be the protagonist of the film. And yeah, what she goes through sucks balls. But do we care? Do we want her to survive for other than the fact that we don't want to be placed in that situation? She has no personality and we don't know enough about her background [except that she's some blonde model] to really give a damn. We usually root for girls who fight back their oppressors, but I could have cared less here. It's uninspired and I can't relate with uninspired.
It would have helped if there was an actual REASON for why the captor puts her through this. Say what you want about "torture porn" films but at least the villain always has a reason for what they do. In SAW, Jigsaw put people through hell in order for them to appreciate the life they were wasting away. It was all about morals and it works brilliantly. In HOSTEL, the villains are doing what they do because it's a sport. It's all about capitalism. In CAPTIVITY, the captor does these things because...well who in the hell knows? Maybe he's just a sick dude. That's nice and all but do I really give a damn? Not really. There's no background to this guy as to why he does what he does. I like mysterious villains but you got to throw me at least ONE bone! Maybe if the story was actually better constructed, this could have been a much better film. But apparently, Joffe only wanted to gross people out. And believe me, you'll barely flinch at this one.
As for the acting, it was probably the film's saving grace from being a total failure. Elisha Cuthbert is in the middle for me as Jennifer. She's beautiful to look at and she can scream and cry with the best of them. But I wanted to see more from her. I mean, you're trapped by some lunatic in some underground hell. Panic! Yell! Go nuts and try to escape! But nope...Jennifer doesn't do that and Cuthbert doesn't show any of that terror or her want to do that in her performance. Everytime she tried to fight back, it was forced and seemed totally scripted. It didn't help that her dialogue sucked. I was hoping Jamie Lee Curtis would walk on the set and beat some Scream Queen sense into her. I would have watched that for 90 minutes!
For me, Daniel Gillies as the other captor, Gary, made the film for me. Best known as John Jameson in SPIDER-MAN 2 and Rachael Leigh Cook's hubby, Gillies gives a really rockin' performance. He was convincing in every way. I bought everything part of his performance, which shows how good of an actor he is. I would like to see more of him in films - hopefully in a much better one.
And I gotta say before I end this review: Who in the hell would have sex during a traumatic experience that Jennifer and Gary went through? Apparently Jennifer and Gary would! I kept thinking to myself, "Hmmm...I'm about to die trapped in this hellhole. God I'm horny! Let's screw!" I mean, it was like the dumbest thing I have ever seen! Plus they knew the guy was watching their every move, yet they consummated it anyway. Riiight. I'm sorry but if I'm being tortured by a nutjob, the last thing I want is sex. Especially with someone who hasn't taken a bath in days. Ew...
THE FINAL HOWL
CAPTIVITY is one of the most dull, predictable horror films I have ever seen. Yes, I got all the twists and even the ending really quickly. SAW was almost 4 years ago. Stop trying to make more films like this and move on! But hey, if you like bad acting, bad dialogue, bad direction, and a really tacky love story - then by all means watch this stupid film. Better you than me. CAPTIVITY, I personally put you in the WTF? Vault for capturing my time away from something more meaningful.