I understand torture-porn is the latest trend in thriller movies, but I don't understand why. Put your hero or heroine in an unbeatable solution created by some twisted mind, and then wail on them mentally and physically until an hour and a half has passed and the credits can roll. Will they get out or won’t they? Here’s a new question: who cares? And here’s another one: at what point do these kids of movies become a fictional version of snuff movies who only appeal to the truly demented sons of bitches who can’t get their jollies any other way than watching the escapades of these sick fucks? The answer: I think we’ve finally gotten there.
Captivity is the latest in these torture-porn flicks, minus a lot of the porn part since the film stars Elisha Cuthbert. The actress wouldn’t take it off when she played an actual porn actress, so why start now? I can’t really criticize her for maintaining some integrity, although what little she still had after facing off with mountain lions in “24” is obliterated by this movie. Nudity may be the only barrier she’s not willing to cross; that, and actually learning how to act beyond screaming.
In Captivity, Cuthbert plays Jennifer, a model who is abducted by one of these sadistic psychos, locked up in a room, and tortured, both psychologically and physically. Some people may want to argue that Captivity isn’t a torture-porn flick (somehow the term exists despite the fact that no director wants the label applied to their movie), but I don’t know what else to call it when the first half of the movie is made up of brief vignettes that consist of a fade-in, Jennifer being abused in some manner, and then fading out, only to start over again with a different means of torture. Through these scenes she is gassed, locked in a chamber piling full of sand, and forced to shoot her dog (lest she be shot herself). She’s also forced to watch how the kidnapper has done these things before to other people. Oh, and her clothes are changed for her numerous times (because she refuses to change herself) but the notion of sexual abuse is never even considered.
That’s because sex enters into the picture in the second half of the movie. Either the writers couldn’t actually fill an hour and a half with torture sequences or they decided to cut Jennifer a break, because she finds an ally in the next room: Gary (Daniel Gillies). What else are you going to do when the kidnappers have the upper hand on you in every way but shack up? I’m truly disappointed in the shallowness of the screenplay from Phone Booth author Larry Cohen. What happened to the all of the brilliant psychological play from that film? Was there just no use putting it in a picture that’s main purpose is to creatively abuse the protagonist?
The story also attempts to explain why our kidnapper is so sadistic by showing home video footage of him killing his mommy, who admits to sexually abusing him. Instead of explaining things it left me thinking about the obvious gaffe of who was operating the home video camera during this? This is the point where the kidnapper’s plot starts to fall apart. The problem is after having such a pervasive hold over Jennifer in the first half of the picture, the only way the plan can fall apart so badly is for the bad guy to suddenly become totally incompetent, because unlike Cohen’s Phone Booth, the resolution isn’t part of a master plan. Instead it’s a change from being completely in control to having absolutely no control in a matter of minutes. And, of course, there’s the requisite plot twist thrown in as well that can be seen from a huge distance. In fact, I’d wager bright enough readers could pick it up from this review; that’s how obvious it is.
Captivity is complete and utter garbage that shows how badly this torture porn subgenre needs to end, right away. It’s one of those rare movies that I would give a lower rating to if I could. It’s bad enough that there are actually people out there in the world who like to kidnap people and abuse them like this, but now we have to glorify it on film? At least with movies like Saw there is a tendency towards a killer with a moralistic sense, and a lot of the murders are achieved through people’s own stupidity and greed. Here there’s just no redeeming quality at all. Considering how much of the movie is made up of the main character having to watch scenes like this, there’s no reason for a willing participant to submit themselves to Captivity.