THE CAPTIVE (2013)
aka Warhouse and Armistice
Directed and co-written by Luke Massey
A.J Budd, a Royal Marine commando, wakes up alone in a mysterious house and is attacked at breakfast by a strange half-man, half-creature. Killing the beast, he wanders around the home to dicsover that he is trapped inside. He cannot break the windows, they are indestructable, the telephone does not work and there doesn’t seem to be any other entry or exit point in the house. The worse bit is, each day he must face the same thing over and over again. Fighting for his survival and sanity, Budd must escape this prison.
THE CAPTIVE, also known as Warhouse and Armistice in the USA, is a British low budget thriller shot at Stratford-Upon-Avon. The film itself only features two locations, the main one being the house in which commando Budd is kept captive in. I’d say 95% of the movie takes place in the house. if this was Pat Sharp’s Fun House, it might be an exciting place to be, but unfortunately it isn’t. Instead, it’s an empty, emotionless setting in which Budd wakes up to day after day. It’s by no means a scruffy abode. In fact it’s a nice, basic house, but the emptiness is starkly evident which leaves a cold impression on both Budd and the viewer. Budd is practically forced to live life like Bill Murray does in Groundhog Day, fighting for his life each morning at 9am before food magically appears on the table without him ever seeing anyone. If he breaks anything in the house, the next morning it’s magically back to how it was originally. The only things that stay are the bruises and scars he acquires and the marks on the wall on where he notes down each passing day with a tally mark.
Starring as decorated Royal Marine commando Budd is Immortals and The Vampire Diaries star Joseph Morgan. Joseph has his work cut out as the lead character who’s shoulders the film practically rests upon. With very little script to work with, Joseph must convey his thoughts and emotions through his actions and expressions, and does a very good job. Matt Ryan also makes an appearance in flashbacks as Edward Sterling.
THE CAPTIVE is an incredibly slow moving film that relies heavily on the ending, which I guessed 5 minutes into watching the film. It’s not hard to work out what is happening with the plot, especially if you’ve seen quite a few films which use the same idea. Unfortunately, the way in which THE CAPTIVE is executed leaves little to keep the viewer engaged and I found myself becoming bored, sleepy and a little irritable at the lack of any real action, tension or drama on-screen. When the conclusion is finally revealed, it hardly comes as a surprise, and by that time, the viewer has already lost interest.
With these struggles, I feel that THE CAPTIVE doesn’t work well as a feature film but would be more effective as a short movie. Dragging the plot out for 77 minutes is far too long when it could have been done in 20 minutes. Instead, emptiness fills the majority of the feature length time. Though that emptiness and loneliness plays to the plot of the movie, it would have still been as atmospheric and bleak had it been shorter and snappier.