‘When you think the worst has happened… think worse.’
Captivity is a 2007 American-Russian horror thriller film directed by Roland Joffé, based on a screenplay by Larry Cohen (director of It’s Alive; Q – The Winged Serpent; The Stuff) and Joseph Tura. The film focuses on two people, played by Elisha Cuthbert and Daniel Gillies, who have been abducted and are being driven mad.
After Dark Films founder Courtney Solomon went back to edit the original concept of Captivity to add more gore and violence. Although he felt the change would bring in more money for the film after noticing the success of Hostel, the film performed poorly at the box office. Solomon later released a statement saying, “It’s overkill, I think audiences have said, ‘I’ve had enough.’ It’s as simple as that.” The original version of Captivity was only released in Spain, Argentina and the United Kingdom.
A young man, whose face is covered, is being tortured – two tubes are inserted into his nose, and battery acid is pumped in through one pipe – causing blood to pour out through the other. He is then killed with a large hammer.
Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert), a successful young fashion model, is stalked and drugged. She wakes in a stupor to find herself captive and confined to a cell.
A series of metal bins and numbered lockers abruptly swing open in front of her. They contain personal items taken from her apartment. She is forced to view videotapes of the victims that were tortured previous to her captivity. During her confinement, she is subjected to various forms of psychological and sensory torture.
Jennifer eventually finds she is not alone. A young man, Gary (Daniel Gillies), is being held captive in an adjoining cell. The two make contact and try to find out why they are being held…
“Destined to be better remembered for its grisly billboard imagery … Captivity is a thoroughly nasty piece of work that nonetheless earns credit for generating modest suspense after a predictable but effective plot twist around the 50-minute mark.” Joe Leydon, Variety
“A film of two halves, while the first is original, bleak and psychologically disturbing, the second couldn’t be more conventional if it tried. By the end, we’re the ones feeling like we’ve been drugged and duped – into watching this nonsense.” Film4
“Screw the culture cops who freaked out over Captivity‘s graphic poster … this is a gleefully nasty piece of red meat for horror hounds that delivers as promised.” Luke Y. Thompson, L.A. Weekly
“When the movie’s not being endlessly redundant and aggressively dreary, it’s being blatantly nasty just for the sake of the viscera. Had Captivity one whiff of something interesting to offer, the splattery stuff could make for a juicy side-dish. As it stands, the movie’s a mess, a slog, and a chore. So the “nasty stuff” is just arbitrary junk.” Scott Weinberg, The Horror Show
“Despite a well-telegraphed twist and the gory action turning more conventional, the pace never flags and the increasing daftness fails to become an issue. Joffé’s interest clearly lies in society’s obsession with celebrity rather than the nuances of the genre, but Cohen’s precision script succeeds in keeping him on the terror track.” Alan Jones, Radio Times