I'm so annoyed that I have to pan Captivity, the horror film we've been hearing about forever that's finally arrived in theaters. The reason I'm annoyed is because I'm a fan of horror, the more extreme the better, and I couldn't be less on the same page as the Nikki Finkes of the world, who think that even working for a publicity firm that does business on behalf of a film like Captivity makes one morally bankrupt. So let me reiterate: I'm not one of those critics who would slam a horror film for being horrifying. I could conceivably write a glowing review of a movie where the lead actress is gang-raped by a group of angry coal miners, gives birth to a two-headed rape baby, and then is forced to eat that baby moments after delivering it. What I can't get on board with is directorial incompetence, which Captivity is, sadly, overflowing with. A retarded gorilla with nervous bowel syndrome could have done a better job of directing this film than double Oscar-nominee Roland Joffe, it seems.
The film drops us into its situation with next to no foreplay: a popular actress/model named Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert) is kidnapped during a night out at a club. An unknown party slips something into her drink, she stumbles into an out of the way area, and the next thing we see is her waking up in a makeshift jail cell that's presumably located in the kidnapper's basement. A lot of torture follows -- editing-room torture. Someone was clearly worried that audiences would be bored by extended takes of a woman sitting alone in isolation, so the movie makes the most awkward jumps forward in time, going from having Cuthbert's character being alone in her cell to being suddenly strapped to a gurney while a hooded figure walks around her in circles, ominously. Important information is lost in the cuts, like where the kidnapper is coming from, and what avenues of escape that could present the heroine. The film is so devoid of establishing shots that we have to accept the torture scenes on a nightmare level.