Captivity (film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Captivity is a 2007 psychological horror film directed by Roland Joffé, written by Larry Cohen and Joseph Tura, and starring Elisha Cuthbert and Daniel Gillies. Considered an entry into the "torture porn" subgenre popularized by such film series as Hostel and Saw, the film centers on a young fashion model (Cuthbert) who is abducted and is psychologically tortured by unknown assailants.


Jennifer Tree, a young fashion model and cover girl, has captured the attention of photographers and, for better or worse, the public at large. On an evening out alone, Jennifer is stalked and drugged. She wakes in a stupor to find herself captive and confined to a cell. A series of metal bins and numbered lockers abruptly swing open in front of her. They contain personal items taken from her apartment. She is forced to view videotapes containing images of the victims who were tortured previous to her captivity, as well as videotaped interviews she had given to the media in the past. Realizing there is no way out, Jennifer pleads and screams to anyone who might hear her.

During her confinement, she is subjected to various forms of psychological torture. Jennifer eventually finds she is not alone. A young man, Gary, is being held captive in an adjoining cell. The two make contact and try to find out why they are being held. They both make it to a garage, where they find a car. As soon as they are about to start the car, gas erupts, knocking them both unconscious. They find themselves back in their cells, where Jennifer sees a tape of Gary being taken and tied to a chair with a gun held under his chin. After a while of Jennifer worrying, she sees Gary being thrown into his cell. She rushes to him and helps him, and they proceed to have sex.

After Gary awakens, he discovers that Jennifer drank a bottle of water that had a drug in it, to put her to sleep. He gets up to wipe the blood off his nose. While he is leaving the cell, he makes sure that Jennifer is sound asleep. Gary's key opens a door into a house, revealing that Gary and his older brother Ben are actually Jennifer's captors. Gary joins Ben in the kitchen, where they make sushi. Gary tells Ben that he is falling in love with Jennifer, and Ben puts something in the fridge. When he turns around, Gary stabs him. Gary watches the same tape of the woman lying on the bed that was shown earlier. The boy stabbing his mother is revealed to have been Gary looking at a smirking Ben. After viewing the tape, Gary reviews a series of pictures in an album, and there is a knock at the door. At the sound, he rushes to hide the albums in a cabinet.

Gary slams the cabinet door, but it does not fully close. Gary answers the door and meets two detectives who are looking for Ben. Gary tells them that his brother is not home. The detectives enter the house, get comfortable, and ask to watch a big sports game on television. One of them flips the channel to the surveillance video of Jennifer sleeping. Seeing this, Gary shoots them both. He runs down to where Jennifer is being held and tells her that he has killed the perpetrators and it's time for them to go. He places Jennifer in a room and tells her to stay there. One of the detectives, having survived the gunshot wound, jumps out at her. Thinking he is one of her captors, she kills him with a baseball bat. Jennifer discovers the partially open cabinet and begins viewing the albums. Gary is in all of them. While she looks through the albums, Ben, also not yet dead, jumps out at her. However, Jennifer finishes him off by stabbing the knife more deeply into him.

After viewing the albums, Jennifer hears the detective's pager ring, and she goes through his personal belongings. Gary records Jennifer, who claims she belongs to him and will help him clean up the mess. She tricks him and sprays ammonia in his eyes before running off. On her way, she cuts a series of wires and electrical cords, which prevents the doors, code entries, and lights from working. Jennifer picks up a flashlight and the gun used on the detectives. She points the flashlight at the opposite wall through a poster of her, distracting Gary. Jennifer goes through the door and points the gun at Gary. Gary tries to persuade her to put the gun down. When it's clear that she won't, he lunges toward her with a pocket knife, and she shoots him. Gary falls back and tries to lunge again, but she shoots him a second time and he falls back on the bed. Gary whispers to her while gasping for air. Jennifer shoots at her poster, which covered a window leading outside. She drops the gun and walks outside and then down the street, finally free.

Alternate Ending

The film's original ending, shown in its entirety on the DVD, depicted a man being captured and tortured with acid before being murdered with a hammer. Through press clippings, the man is shown to be a serial killer of women, and his assailant is revealed to be Jennifer. This ending was re-edited and used as a cold open in the final cut.


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