Jaime, Marta and their daughter Isabel, a well-off family, move to a luxurious new house. On the first evening in their new home, a group of three hooded men burst into the house. Their objective: to get as much money as possible out of them in one night. 'Kidnapped' is an intense and uncompromising shocker full of almost unbearable, nail-biting suspense.
If you’re sensitive, easy to cringe at the sight of blood and against torture, you shouldn't watch watch ‘Kidnapped’. The Spanish film from new director Miguel Angel Vivas is unapologetically violent and there will be no happy endings here, that’s a guarantee.
Film uses an indie film’s favorite hand-held camerawork to shoot the brutality that transpires on screen. What starts out as a typical, mundane day for Jaime (Fernando Cayo), Marta (Ana Wagener), and their daughter Isa (Manuela Velles), driving to their new home in a gated community in Madrid, becomes a nightmare of epic proportions. No thanks to criminals in ski masks who have all their bases covered. They’ve got the father in the car, going around ATMs to withdraw their cash, and the mother and daughter at home, gagged and bound.
In fact, director Vivas uses an ingenious device of split-screen to show us the violence simultaneously happening among the family members. When uninvited guests come to the torture party, things escalate even further and no rescue is in sight.
In the tradition of ‘Funny Games’ and ‘The Strangers’, ‘Kidnapped’ has a mission to shock and disgust its audience without question. Home invasion is the worst thing to happen to anyone because this is your home and you have no control of it, the psychos are. Director Vivas knows this and with ‘Kidnapped’ he goes on overdrive and we are not allowed for any respite. What the film lacks is a good working script that makes the victims more sympathetic to its audience. Yes, we feel their pain, it is actually painful to watch the film, but it can be grating with all the screaming and the violence that ensue. However, that’s what the film wants; it won’t let up, it won’t dare.
How torture films have become a genre in itself is an enigma. What exactly do these films have, what sort of entertainment value do they offer, that speaks to the curiosities of people? It is sick, twisted, and primeval and yet, here we are with ‘Kidnapped’, another exercise in the showbiz of epic violence.