Brotherly incestuous subtext & mother/son abuse in “Captivity”

Just when you think you are going to watch just another scary horror movie…yep, more incest. And in more than one way.

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A man and a woman awaken to find themselves captured in a cellar. As their kidnapper drives them psychologically mad, the truth about their horrific abduction is revealed.(IMDB)

Back again to bring us more “hot melting incest” is Elisha Cuthbert, who starred in one of the most incestuous heavy subtexts movies ever, House Of Wax.

If you like horror movies (like I do) and twists, I think you will really enjoy this film. Plus it features two pretty awesome Canadians – Daniel Gillies (The Originals) and Elisha Cuthbert (House of WaxThe Quiet). What is it about Elisha Cuthbert always getting stalked by brothers in twisted horror movies?

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Most of the reviews I read about this film said it was ripping off Saw or trying to be like a torture porn. I don’t agree. I enjoyed the whole movie and thought it was more of a twist on those franchises than anything. It is nowhere near as gory and torturous as Saw or Hostel. I don’t care for useless gore or just killing for the sake of it, and didn’t find this that gory at all. The camera usually fades out when anything to graphic comes up, which is only a few times. It does rely on a few cheap tricks, and included some unnecessary stuff in the beginning, but it makes up for it in the end. You won’t see it coming (unless you read the rest of this review, but I urge you not unless you watch the movie first because spoiler alert!)  I thought it was one of the few actually intelligent horror movies, if you look at it a bit closer.

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*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*

The story revolves around Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert), a buxom blond supermodel-actress whose only true friend appears to be a fluffy white toy dog that she totes around everywhere she goes (including posh Soho nightclubs). This is a character that supposedly is based off of Paris Hilton, another link to House of Wax. Jennifer’s beautiful face is plastered on ads throughout New York City (although the film was primarily shot in Russia) and it is that celebrity that will get her into trouble.

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When Jennifer is at a nightclub for a charity event, her drink is drugged by an unseen man. Geez, so much for giving back! She wakes up to find she is held captive inside a dank basement cell with a mysterious captor, whose appearance is obscured by a heavy coat and hood.

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Jennifer soon realizes she’s not the only one being held hostage, and she and Gary (Daniel Gillies,The Originals) soon become more than friends.

Well after their fear induced world-wind romance, turns out Gary is in on the whole thing, and this isn’t his first rodeo! Plus, wait for it…The hooded man is his brother! And they seem to have something going on…

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The hint of an incestuous attraction between the larger older man and his younger brother is underdeveloped, but still a major part of the script. Like, he feeds him sushi! Plus there’s more!

Gary likes to basically scare these woman they kidnap into his arms and when they have sex, his brother Ben watches. In one scene Gary basically asks Ben why he doesn’t join in and Ben explains to Gary that “you’re inside her, I’m inside her.”

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Once they have their fun, they do away with their victims, in pretty graphic ways. It is unknown if their other female victims were also celebrities, but one of the first scenes of the movie shows a woman getting acid poured on her face. Jealous much?

It is also explained why they enjoy kidnapping, torturing and essentially rapping these woman. Because their mother was sexually abusive to them when they were young. This is shown in a home movie scene that is shown to Gary and Jennifer while they are tied up and thier hands are taped together (while Gary is still going along with the whole gag.) Later, when Gary shows the audience his true face, he plays the tape again. Only now we see Gary stab his mother, put the knife down, take a picture of it, and then the camera drops and another boy walks into the frame….Ben. See this clip here.  http://adf.ly/mxs50

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When they are not busy being psychos, they like to scrapbook, lol! They keep all their photos, some mementos (like hair), and creepy writings in books labelled by their victims name. Ben tells Gary it will be time soon to get rid of Jennifer, but Gary wants to keep her and ends up stabbing Ben! Long story short, Jennifer then finds out Gary is not the night in shinning armor she thought he was and manages to kill him and escape. Guess they won’t be riding off into the sunset…

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I was really surprised by this film and found a lot of interesting ideas in in it. The notion that celebrities reveal too much about themselves that some sicko (or sickos) could use against them is a valid point, and the voyeurism inherent in the story suggests that the audience likes to see celebs put through the ringer in their personal lives. The writer of Captivity claims to have based the character on Paris Hilton, and while I don’t entirely believe that’s what the film was aiming for, it’s an interesting comparison. It’s also a bit of commentary, however unintentional, on our culture’s fascination with celebrities, the desire to be close to them, and to possess a piece of them.

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In the end, when Jennifer is able to get out of her captivity and essentially be free she is able to reclaim herself. She is no longer captive to the public image and role she has been playing through her celebrity. Now her next goal will be trying to reinvent herself or start over with her life – now that she has new found appreciation for it ssince she has been through this traumatic and scarring event.

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In the bonus features one of the deleted scenes showed Jennifer even going as far as to be a kind of vigilante against other men like these brothers. She is shown wearing a wig and then basically giving them a taste of their own medicine by torturing and killing them. In another deleted scene, after she escapes she is shown helping out someone with their groceries and getting onto a bus, thus showing her sewing the seeds of her new identity.

Purchase Captivity from Amazon.

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Categories: Brother/Brother, Clips, Film, Mother/Son | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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