Movie Review: Kidnapped (2011)


There are days I worry about my own sanity after I’ve finished watching a movie featuring horrible things happening to innocent people and I realize I was looking forward to watching the movie. Thankfully I can breathe a sigh of relief when I can tell you I didn’t actually enjoy watching these horrible things happening- in the case of KIDNAPPED I fully did not enjoy the experience, but the film is crafted and made with a great amount of skill. Does that make it a brilliant work of art or something I can recommend- not so much.

What we have here is pretty cut and dry- a family is excited to be moving into a new house until it is invaded by masked robbers and they are held against their will until the intruders have completed their robbery. The plot is straightforward and pulls no punches in fooling you it’s more than that. I believe it’s best knowing that going in than assuming you are in for anything ground breaking or full of twists and turns since that will likely leave you even colder at the end.

Speaking of the ending- I won’t spoil it, but to say it made me feel dead inside might be an understatement. I don’t mean that in that it made me feel nothing in fact it’s quite the opposite. It unsettled me by how blunt and to the point it was without really giving much of a warning. However, it also doesn’t exactly sell or enhance anything that came before it so aside from how effective the ending is it doesn’t stop me from saying I found little to no enjoyment from the experience- in fact if I came out “enjoying” the ending or the overall experience I’d insist someone lock me up right now and strap a straight jacket on me.

I can’t in good conscience say it isn’t possible for people to like this movie because it would be far too presumptuous. The film is well made and is quite tense and disturbing in the way that it seems fully plausible given how direct and realistic it is. There is a split screen sequence towards the end that is incredibly well don’t and unites the two ends in an extremely effective way.

The performances of the actors sell every frame of the film- unless of course you decide to watch the dubbed version which I got some choice cuts of when I tried to sit through. Do not waste any time with the dub because it is exceedingly awful and horribly done. The voice actors at times were either working from a different script or something got lost in translation since there is a moment where someone gets mixed up in the gender of a person who has just been killed- in that they say the opposite gender of the person who was killed. Watch it in the language it was intended for and it will be much more effective.

This is a thriller that’s mostly all about attitude. There are not a lot of elaborate kills or even extremely gory kills- although when people are “offed” it is brutal and unsettlingly realistic. The majority of the film is defined by the performances and the stretches of sequences where not a lot is being said and the camera is locked in on a close-up as we take in the facial expressions and terrified cries or screams.

When the credits roll on KIDNAPPED the question you should ask yourself is not did I enjoy this, it’s should I enjoy this? When it’s all said and done I can recognize the skill at which this was made and how great the performances are, but at the end I was sort of in a hurry to erase these images from my head. When I say something like that it’s not because it is a bad movie, it’s because it is so well made and plausible that I needed to purge the film from my brain so I don’t sit in fear that someone is going to burst through my door. Also, it’s disturbing to put yourself in the protagonist’s shoes and imagine how it would feel if this was happening to your family. So yes I would say KIDNAPPED is worth a watch, but I would also recommend taking a hot shower and scrubbing intensely to cleanse yourself of the ugliness the film exposes you to.