Roland Joffé’s “Captivity” is another title in the utterly exhausting torture genre from the early aughts that died in death grip of the heinously awful “Wolf Creek.” Dark Sky and Roland Joffé ape everything that garnered “Saw” success, along with gambling on and likely over-estimating Elisha Cuthbert’s appeal. “Captivity” is another torture film with a woman in peril that involves a masked madman in the shadows, and a young woman that must be forced to self reflect in a cheesy morality theme, all the while avoiding certain death under his traps.
Cuthbert plays vain and self-involved magazine model Jennifer whose life revolves around her career and her dog. One night at a party, she’s drugged, kidnapped, and awakens in a chamber where she’s closed off from the rest of the world. After painfully repetitious sequences of attempted escape, screaming, capture, and torture, she meets a fellow prisoner. He is also attempting escape, screams a lot, is capture, and somehow dodges the torture. Cuthbert’s performance is mediocre, while her character simply has no likable qualities nor does she give us a reason to root for her at any moment.
She’s focused on herself, and only herself, while the poor man’s Jigsaw tortures her and the audience. For ninety minutes, we have to sit and watch this young girl take a brutal beating, and for what is seemingly all for nothing, in the end. “Captivity” runs out of steam after an hour, and yet continues on with utterly outlandish plot devices including snoopy cops, the identity of our madman given away much too soon, and a limp climax that almost seems derived from a different film altogether. “Captivity” is that film in a thankfully dead and buried horror fad where you know they’ve all run out of ideas.