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Elisha Cuthbert
Daniel Gillies
Pruitt Taylor Vince.
Roland Joffe.
Larry Cohen
Joseph Tura .
Running Time
85 minutes

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Elisha Cuthbert gets kidnapped, for about the 19th time

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Model Jennifer Tree (Cuthbert) is drugged in a New York nightclub, and wakes up in an underground prison where she is tormented by a sadistic stalker who plays evil games with her. She discovers that Gary (Gillies) is being held in an adjoining cell, and the pair team up against their unknown enemy.

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The thing about director Roland Joffé is that even his officially ‘good’ films (The Killing Fields, The Mission) aren’t actually that good – and they have a streak of pompous self-importance which carries over into this horribly derivative horror film. It’s worth remembering Joffé also signed off on the version of The Scarlet Letter that was laughed offscreen in 1995, and produced the singularly cheerless Super Mario Bros. Here Joffé tries to get down with the kids by working from a script by the usually ingenious Larry Cohen, following Joel Schumacher (Phone Booth) and David R. Ellis (Cellular). Joffé used to direct wonderful schlock about killer babies (It’s Alive) and Aztec dinosaur gods (Q), but now just turns out ‘high concept’ thriller pitches which get hammered into thoroughly conventional pictures.
The great-grandaddy in the ‘captivity’ genre is The Collector, which was also about a gorgeous but shallow girl chained up in the basement of an avid fan. However, it’s plain this has been made with several spare eyes (the ones that didn’t go in the blender) on the Saw franchise, which inspires the metal shop gothic look of the heroine’s cell and the string of nasty tricks played on her (you can see the one with her pet poodle coming a mile off – though that pays off with a contemptible cop-out), plus a few strategic borrowings (including the exact shot in which one twist is revealed) from My Little Eye.
Elisha Cuthbert, having suffered through three seasons of 24 and lost a finger in the House of Wax remake, goes through the motions as a hard-to-like victim who keeps falling for the villain’s obvious stratagems and always makes the wrong decision as to when to kick and when to plead. She’s not even convincing in the few scenes where she’s supposed to be playing a superficial model. Of the rest of the tiny cast, only blandly handsome Gillies gets much to do – with an especial waste of talented heavyweight Pruitt Taylor Vince (Identity took place inside his head – remember?) in a misleading mid-film cameo. Somebody please ask Larry Cohen to direct again – even his most makeshift horrors had a snap and unpredictability that the likes of Roland Joffé can’t hope to match.

Torture junkies should remember it’s only four months to Saw IV -- so you can afford to avoid Captivity.

Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Captivity
Empire Star Rating

By-Numbers Horror

There's little to describe this lively mess other than: unoriginal. Somehow managing to steer clear of the more graphic ideals on the market, and rather attempting to make a clever little isolation-themed horror, what went wrong. Everything, is the answer. Cuthbert does an okay job of acting all whiney and crying, but apart from that, the film has absolutely nothing to recommend it. The script is atrocious, the set-pieces feel dated, the characters are uninteresting, and, in the end, there's abs... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 15:01, 25 June 2011 | Report This Post

I'm not one to make random posts but I thought I would in this case. I had waited a while to watch this film thanks to the bizarre (but intriguing) LoveFilm bot's selection. Simply, I wish I hadn't. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by QuietLife at 03:45, 25 October 2009 | Report This Post

Short and sweet

Not the best ever, but it does what it says on the tin. If anything it's too short and doesn't explain whatever message it's trying to make. Basically if you like Elisha Cuthbert being tortured, it's for you. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 21:44, 04 December 2007 | Report This Post

What a load of CRAP....

This was absolute bollocks. Every frame had a cheap lts make a movie feel to it. The story a saw rip off and theres no intelligence in it what so ever. The fact that it wants to be clever make its even worse and what a wast of Elisha Cutbert. Shes a talented actress and deserves more than this crap. She can scream but with the weak script and shoddy camera work she just has othing to feed off from. All in all i want the hour and a half that i lost off my life wtching this film. PLease dont make ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JimBo! at 09:37, 08 November 2007 | Report This Post

It was better then I thought it would be. Just watched it in upscailed DVD and it added to the atmosphere. I thought Elisa was fine in the part as where the other actors. It was more psychlogical then gory which I prefer in my horror films. It was no masterpiece and a bit predictable (my mum guessed he was in on it after he showed up) but overall intiguing throughout. Entertaining but I wouldn't watch it again...far superior to trash like Hostel ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 23:11, 03 November 2007 | Report This Post

Quite Confusing.

I rented this out yesterday with Lonley hearts, me and my sister and ma watched this movie all the way though. I thought it was quite grahpic with all the torture moments but it was pretty confussing like why on earth would she do it with a guy she only just met and looks dodgy? Silly but okay, I would only give it two stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 13:48, 30 October 2007 | Report This Post


Watched this film on the back of Hostel II, Touristas, and all 3 Saw films, kind of getting into the idiots-in-peril films, but this doesn't even come up to their, lets face it, not-so-high standards. At least all the affore mentioned movies had a little gore to please us horror fans. Back to Switchblade Romance it is then, at least there's a film that knows how to mix gore with real suspense. ... More

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Posted by Indifly at 02:32, 29 October 2007 | Report This Post


Watched this film on the back of Hostel II, Touristas, and all 3 Saw films, kind of getting into the idiots-in-peril films, but this doesn't even come up to their, lets face it, not-so-high standards. At least all the affore mentioned movies had a little gore to please us horror fans. Back to Switchblade Romance it is then, at least there's a film that knows how to mix gore with real suspense. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Indifly at 02:32, 29 October 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Captivity

But do we get to see Elisha nekkid? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 10:21, 30 July 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Captivity

This movie was just weak on so many levels. Firstly the plot, where was the malice and terror about her impending situation? The movie didn't convey any of that too me and it easily could have and what was with all her changes of clothing? That really is scary p; The two detectives were terrible and just not believable, infact the whole movie just dind't have any credibilty.   Where was the 'torture porn' or anything remotely nasty...or am i just hardened to movie violence? Th... More

Posted by Newander at 08:17, 30 July 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Captivity

I watched it the other day after reading metro's review of saying it had "a fantastic twist". I sat thinking what was that reviewer on that day when they reviewed it. It was ok in moments but mostly it was laughable. As people have already mentioned i just couldnt believe what i was watching when that sex scene started.   Elisha Cuthbert should have stuck with 24...and The girl next door (cos i love that haha) ... More

Posted by lamby at 18:39, 01 July 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Captivity

I'm guessing that the twist is.../align]...her kidnapper is that damn cougar!! ... More

Posted by Monkeyshaver at 10:54, 29 June 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Captivity

The faces she made when she was trying to act distressed made me laugh. :] ... More

Posted by xmagic_dustx at 00:12, 29 June 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Captivity

Quite frankly, this is shite.   And more to the point, it's fucking pointless shite. There is nothing to this film, it is an hour and a half of Cuthbert's breasts and she doesn't even have the decency to get them out. That would have given it an extra star nd the twist is, as someone has said, obvious from the bloody is never a good sign.   Just awful * ... More

Posted by Shifty Bench at 00:05, 29 June 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Total fuckin wank...

ty is quite a retarded film to be honest. e=2]That twist wasn't even shocking, I was really disappointed. As for the sex scene, so what do you do when you've been captured by a madman and tortured, hmm, I know, have sex with your fellow hostage cos its the first thing on your mind.] Plus Elisha Cuthbert is annoying. And when she played Kim in 24 she got into every possible dangerous situation she could! Whether it be being kidnapped and getting her friend killed in the process,... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by xmagic_dustx at 23:56, 28 June 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Total fuckin wank...

I love how everyone now refers to Elisha Cuthbert as Kim Bauer. She's not even Elisha Cuthbert anymore! She is screwed. ... More

Posted by Sutty at 01:55, 28 June 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Total fuckin wank...

I love the Saw films, but this was shit. The only amusing thing was the number of methods they used to knock Kim Bauer unconscious repeatedly. Anyone else think Gary looked like Michael Ballack? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tommyjarvis at 00:04, 28 June 2007 | Report This Post

Total fuckin wank...

Awful film. Fuck Saw 4 as well - those films belong in a bargin bin somewhere, not in a cinema. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by AboyNamedSue at 12:17, 26 June 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Captivity

r: Joffe riters: ohen, Joseph Tura g: Cuthbert, Daniel Gillies, Pruitt Taylor Vince s del Jennifer (Cuthbert) wakes up in a mysterious room, she and another stranger Gary (Gillies) tries to escape and stop a serial killer who performs torturous deaths. another of the torture pornographic collection, which originally conceived in 2004, with the movie that is way better than this. Who would have thought that this psychological thriller was directed by Roland Joffe, who brought ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Wilding at 18:57, 25 June 2007 | Report This Post

A wasted 90 minutes of my life...

This is up there with the worst movies I've ever seen...seriously. An unlikeable and unbelievable lead doesn't bode well and although the plot has a promising enough start, your interest will quickly be lost as it simply plods through the motions. The grainy dips into the toturers childhood are laughable and to think sex with a fellow captive would be on the mind of our terrified "heroine" is frankly an insult. Boring, boring, borning. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ejarvis at 11:51, 25 June 2007 | Report This Post

to the idiot below

kim newman is a he not a she ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by satan666 at 18:41, 24 June 2007 | Report This Post

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Thank you for saving me £9.50 .... Will steer clear of it ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by omarx at 18:00, 24 June 2007 | Report This Post


L: kumar L: angrytapes Saw it this morning, review is pretty much spot on. There are two really quite grim torture porn scenes and the rest is generic 'im peeking at you, oh you've escaped. oh I caught you again' nonsense. The twist is blatantly obvious from the trailer, apart from the two scenes mentioned theres nothing to really keep your interest, you dont feel too scared for her as as she is the main character you know shes gonna escape, Kim Bauer looks pretty but still cant... More

Posted by homersimpson_esq at 09:16, 24 June 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Obviously Ms. Newman does not understand the horror genre

Kim Newman is my favourite reviewer, I don't think he's ever been wrong about anything gh he probably has in fairness. Still he generally rates everything I rate which is most important  ... More

Posted by Lydia_H at 02:01, 24 June 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Obviously Ms. Newman does not understand the horror genre

L: theshape78 I laughed out loud when I read Ms. Newman's review. My conclusion is that she suffers from severe a.d.d. and is NOT a film scholar but is a Carrie Bradshaw loving writer. Roland Joffe and Larry Cohen never set out to make the stock trade brand of horror films like the uber-gay and in denial Eli Roth or capitalize on the clever Saw franchise. They intended on creating a suspenseful game of cat & mouse in the vein of Hitchcock. Ms. Newman, have you ever seen a H... More

Posted by Shifty Bench at 22:01, 23 June 2007 | Report This Post

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