This Saw wannabe fails on many levels, including forgetting to do what it's supposed to do: deliver potentially delicious gory moments.
More than 800,000 people disappear off the streets every year. In Captivity, it's a top fashion model, Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert), who falls prey to a sadistic mind, capable of many creepy ways of torturing her both physically and mentally. It turns out this guy, Ben (Pruitt Taylor-Vince), has been watching her long before he drugs and kidnaps her. As he puts her in a dank and dark cell, she learns that he has kept a close eye on her personal life and has been in her apartment many times. The only thing keeping her sane is her friendship with a young guy named Gary (Daniel Gillies), who's being held in the cell next to her. But little comfort that is. After being strapped to a table and tortured with worms, rats, gas and other devices, Jennifer is forced to drink down an eyeball shake. Things go downhill from there.
Poor Elisha Cuthbert. You would think she would have had her fill with being kidnapped, after playing Kim Bauer in her breakout role in 24. The model is snatched so quickly and so early in the film it's hard to develop any sympathy for her, but even still, she doesn't seem like she deserves much. In fact, all Cuthbert really does is scream. She hugs her teddy bear for some emotional thumb-sucking moments, but most of the time she just screams. Pruitt Taylor-Vince is always creepy even when playing a sympathetic character (he has that roving eye thing), while Gillies is handsome in that kind of greasy, grungy way but a far stretch from the hero type. It would be nice if someone, anyone could be even remotely sympathetic in Captivity, beside the dog. Perhaps the teddy bearand the rat.
Director Roland Joffe has done some decent movies. He trotted Patrick Swayze to Calcutta for City of Joy and Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro to the Amazon in The Mission. He even got an Academy nomination, directing his first feature film, The Killing Fields. The question is: What happened? Captivity is a mess, beginning with a nonsensical plot and ending with a twist you can figure out 10 minutes into it and may even be obvious after watching the trailer. The film is also unusually light on gore (except for the eyeball smoothie) and boring, two things you definitely don't want if you're trying to make a horror film. Unfortunately, Captivity will be remembered more for its controversial billboard campaign which had to be toned down more than anything else.
Hollywood.com rated this film 1 1/2 stars.