Written and Directed by Stephen Patrick Kenny
A group of twelve people wake up to find themselves locked in a bunker. All twelve strangers have no idea why they are there or how they got there nor do they know each other. A mysterious voice on the end of a phone tells them they have 24 hours to work out the link between them else they will die. With random tasks to kill others and with some of the strangers succumbing to illness, the group must work together if they are to survive.
Very much starting in the same way that SAW did all those years ago, and in some ways CUBE, Stephen Patrick Kenny’s CAPTIVE throws the viewer into a situation where no-one except a watchful Big Brother-style eye knows what is going on. Leaving the groggy, frightened strangers of various ages and of both genders to figure out the situation for themselves leads to increasing fear where the fight or flight mechanism takes over. With strict orders, by the computerised voice on the other end of a mobile phone found in the room, not to leave the bunker or else otherwise be killed, it takes some truly scared people to react without thinking for the warning to ring true. With two strangers tied up, gagged and with bags over their heads, the simple strategic placement of these two individuals in the corner of the bunker is enough to cause tension in an already fraught group where co-operation and teamwork is absolutely key to their survival.
What starts off as an interesting idea soon turns into a massive bore. The script struggles to grab the viewer with characters that are hard to invest in. A mixed bag of performances from the cast adds to this as the viewer is left to painfully watch the unbelievable arguments explode on-screen. Bundle this up with a lacklustre storyline that doesn’t really add anything clever and simply chooses to kill off its characters one by one means there’s not much to do except endure it to see if there is an outcome that is worth watching for.
Sound issues plague the movie with much of the dialogue audio flitting between loud and quiet to the point where I either had to turn down the volume drastically or turn it up to strain to hear the mumbling words spoken by a character lurking in the background. This rollercoaster audio affects the film quite badly as you have to constantly have your hand hovering over the volume button on the remote and even then some of the dialogue is too muffled to make out which hinders the understanding of the story.
From a horror perspective, there’s not enough here to please fans which is a shame as I really felt as though the characters could have turned on each other in a violent way without having to resort to bloody effects which might have been a struggle to achieve on this film’s budget. Instead we’re left with petty squabbles which don’t amount to much and quick attacks that haven’t the impact desired due to the lack of tension built.
With a stronger cast and script and without the audio problems it suffers throughout, CAPTIVE could have been a watchable thriller but in its current form it struggles too much to be an enjoyable experience.