Film Review: “Captivity” is an Intelligent Horror Film When You Look Closer

in Lifestyle

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Film 79 of 2014: Captivity (2007) image

A man (Daniel Gillies) and a woman (Elisha Cuthbert) awaken to find themselves captured in a cellar. As their kidnapper drives them psychologically mad, the truth about their horrific abduction is revealed.

The story of “Captivity” revolves around Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert), a naive  buxom blond supermodel-actress whose only true friend appears to be a fluffy white toy dog that she totes around everywhere she goes (including posh Soho nightclubs). Jennifer’s beautiful face is plastered on ads throughout New York City (although the film was primarily shot in Russia) and it is that celebrity that will get her into trouble.

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I was really surprised by this film and found a lot of interesting ideas “hidden” within it. The notion that celebrities reveal too much about themselves that anyone could use against them is a valid point, and the voyeurism inherent in the story suggests that the audience likes to see celebs put through the ringer in their personal lives. The writer of Captivity claims to have based the character on Paris Hilton, and while I don’t entirely believe that’s what the film was aiming for, it’s an interesting comparison. It’s also a bit of commentary, however unintentional, on our culture’s fascination with celebrities, the desire to be close to them, and to possess a piece of them.

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In the end, when Jennifer is able to get out of her captivity and essentially be free she is able to reclaim herself. She is no longer “captive” to the public image and role she has been playing through her celebrity. Now, she must face her next test of trying to reinvent herself or start over with her life. She has new found appreciation for it since she has been through this traumatic and scarring event.

If you can, I also recommend you watch the film version that was released in Spain (the original version). It contains some totally different scenes and have much of the “gore” cut out and makes it more of a psychological thriller, like it was originally intended. After the success of Saw and the Hostel franchises the director ordered a ton of re-shoots before the rest of the European, US and Canadian releases and that makes the film lose key scenes and story that really add to the film. Here is an article that walks you through the differences frame by frame. I still saw the films potential and enjoyed its commentary on celebrity and pop culture.

Very Good | 8/10

Purchase Captivity from Amazon

If you liked Captivity be sure to check out Elisha Cuthbert in “House of Wax,” another good horror thriller.

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