Sunday, June 5, 2011
Kidnapped (aka Secuestrados) (2011)
Kidnapped (aka Secuestrados) is a brutal, nihilistic home invasion tale from Spain, directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas. Going in, I didn’t know much about the film and had only heard whisperings about its brutality and shock value. It certainly lived up to what little I had heard about it in regards to its violent atmosphere, but the story left a little to be desired as we’ve seen it all before.
A family consisting of father Jaime (Fernando Cayo), mother Marta (Ana Wagener) and teenage daughter Isa (Manuela Vellés) has just moved into their beautiful new home. Their first night there, three masked intruders burst in and take them all hostage. Jaime is taken by the leader of the group to withdraw cash from ATMs in the nearby city, while Marta and Isa are terrorized by the two remaining goons. The family soon decides to fight back, with dire consequences.
Don’t get me wrong, this is an extremely well-made movie that has oodles of tension, but for one reason or another I’m on the fence with this one. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it, I’m just kind of ambivalent towards it. If I had to just use one word to sum up my thoughts on the film, it would be “meh”.
Though the direction, cinematography and acting were all decent, the story is just lacking. It’s the same storyline I’ve seen so many times that I feel like I’ve become desensitized to it. Are horrific acts perpetrated on the victims? Yes. Is it brutal? Yes. Do the victims turn the tables and fight back? Yes. It was just all so familiar that I just zoned out a bit watching this. The only surprise came with the nihilist ending, which may be unsatisfying for some viewers. I, however, enjoyed the ending as it was pretty much the only thing that went against the grain of the standard “home invasion” horror film.
Besides the story that could have used a bit more creativity, sometimes the pacing was off as well. I enjoyed how the film kicked things off right away (after gratefully interrupting an annoying family squabble), but when the villain takes the father out to withdraw money from ATMs (really? all they wanted was money?) the action stagnates a bit. I heard a rumor that the film was filmed in just 12 shots. However, I cannot confirm or deny this since I learned of it after watching the film. This would explain some of the scenes that seem to drag on and on, as well as some very long shots that also draw out the pacing.
However, when the action does come on screen, it definitely delivers. Which ultimately led to another problem with the film…the pacing and tone are never consistent and while this jarring difference between quiet, intimate moments and loud, action sequences kept drawing me back into the film, it never felt like it quite clicked. Most of the time it felt like two different films – one is a drama about a dysfunctional family and the other is a hyperviolent look at a home invasion gone wrong. I guess this goes back to the pacing issues, but, again, the film didn’t seem to flow correctly.
Additionally, the film keeps getting more and more violent as it progresses, which may ultimately please some horror fans on just how brutal the action gets. The double-whammy of the ending actually made me mutter “whoa”, but I don’t think it made up for the film’s other issues. Still, I could go both ways on the film. I certainly don’t loathe it, but I probably won’t watch it again and after a few months I’ll probably forget I saw it. Again, meh.