Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Captivity Movie Poster Image
Dreary, cliched "torture porn." Yuck.
  • R
  • 2007
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Model seems arrogant and shallow -- but also self-knowing -- in her interviews; kidnapper is inexorably sadistic and brutal.


Unrelenting violence and/or threat of violence. Repeated images of bloody wounds and body parts (in one especially gruesome scene, a victim is force-fed bloody, blendered body parts, including an eyeball shown in close-up, until she passes out). Violent acts include acid funneled through a tube (which causes the victim to explode), pouring acid onto a victim so her face burns, dragging and tying up an unconscious woman, a victim screaming and throwing furniture, a victim strapped to a chair and forced to watch another victim showered by acid, threatening displays of "Hanging Man" tarot card and a bloody doll, confinement in a glass box filling with sand, shooting victim's dog in front of her, flashback of a young boy stabbing his mother repeatedly in the stomach, pulling teeth with pliers (very bloody mouth), stabbing, shooting with shotgun (in a couple of scenes), smashing with bat, and spraying poisonous cleaner in face.


Model images show sexy poses (cleavage and breast, no nipple); kidnapped model wears revealing and (in one blurry profile image) no clothing; flashback shows substance-addled mother lying on bed telling her young son that "It makes Mommy feel so good" when "Mommy touches you" sex scene late in the film shows male on top, thrusting (not explicit, but disturbing, as the scene is observed by kidnapper on surveillance monitor); creepy discussion of being "inside her" suggestion of an incestuous relationship between two brothers; suggestions of sex in kidnapper's scrapbooks.


Plenty of nasty language to enhance the ugly imagery, including "f--k," "damn," "s--t," "a--hole," "bastard," and "piece of crap."


The model is herself a brand in the movie; Palm Pilot is mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jennifer has a drugged drink at a club (the image warps to approximate her perspective); kidnapper drinks wine several times; Jennifer is drugged (by needle) and passes out while in captivity; kidnapper's mother appears in flashback, extremely high and discussing her sexual abuse of her son; cigarette butts appear in ashtray.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this bloody, torturous (literally and figuratively) horror movie is in no way for kids. Brutal, grisly images -- focused on the kidnapping, captivity, and torture of a model by a killer who resents her "beauty" (and has flashbacks to a sexually abusive mother) -- are nonstop. Expect to see shooting, stabbing, smothering by sand, bondage, hitting, and teeth pulling by pliers. The model is forced to wear skimpy clothing, swallow blended human entrails, and take needles of knockout drugs in her arm. There's one brief but suggestive sex scene; and, in addition to doping his victim, the killer drinks several times while observing her. Language includes repeated uses of "f--k" and more.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byletemblittle April 9, 2008

Why ask Why????????

This film shouldn't be watched by any human. It is purely TOXIC and mind corrupting!
Adult Written byGorilla G Swagger May 7, 2021


Easily one of the worst horror films made, just a stupid Hostel and Saw knock off. SKIP PLEASE!!!!
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 January 31, 2012

The feel bad torture porn movie of 2007.

I wouldn't say it's absolutely mind corrupting,but then again it's a torture porn flick so teens and above only.If your kid has nightmares about... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008

Not apropriate

Defeinetly inappropiate for me.

What's the story?

Reportedly re-edited to enhance gore and all but disowned by director Roland Joffé (whose previous work includes The Killing Fields), Captivity is premised on one tedious idea: torturing a beautiful girl. From her first minute on screen, model Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert) is objectified. Kidnapped by an apparently devious stalker who drugs her drink and then drags her out a back door , Jennifer wakes up in a basement. She will spend several days being emotionally and physically abused by the stalker (Pruitt Taylor Vince), who lurks in shadows, watches her on surveillance monitors, and wears an ominous dark hoodie. Jennifer's torments are various; most have to do with nasty restraints and ocular tricks (a window looking out on palm trees and water turns out to be a cruel projection). Distraught, Jennifer cries out repeatedly, "I'm sorry" (thus mimicking the tape the killer shows her of a previous victim crying out as she's doused with acid).

Is it any good?

The plot takes the shape of one abuse after another, punctuated by inane dialogue. (The killer says by intercom: "Why do bad things happen to good people, you ask? That's the mystery"; Jennifer in a TV interview the killer plays on a taunting loop: "It's not just me. It's a scientific fact: Beauty rules. It always has, and it always will.") When Jennifer discovers a second captive, Gary (Daniel Gillies), she's heartened -- but viewers are troubled: His sudden appearance is ridiculously convenient, and his pretty-boy slickness is surely more corny than reassuring. The film tries to have it multiple ways, both condemning the killer's self-importance and disapproving of Jennifer's superficial performance -- as well as the system of high-fashion imagery that encourages him to desire and hate her at the same time. The fact that Captivity also flashes back to an atrocious scene showing the killer with his sexually abusive, drugged-out mother doesn't quite excuse him, but does -- predictably and quite painfully -- find a way to blame a woman for what's wrong with him.

Even before its release, CAPTIVITY was notorious. Shot in Moscow in 2005, it was touted as the first United States-Russian co-production. And its early ads -- which featured images of a young woman's abuse -- drew public outcry and were withdrawn by distributor After Dark Films. Sadly, the movie that has finally reached theaters hardly seems worth the uproar.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the trend of "torture porn." Why is this sub-category of horror movie (which also includes Saw, Hostel, and others like them) so popular right now? Is there a particular statement you think filmmakers are trying to make? If not, what's their motivation? Is "violence for violence's sake" enough of a reason to make -- or see -- a movie? Families can also discuss the movie's messages about beauty. Why is Jennifer victimized? Why does her tormentor resent her appearance? How does Jennifer feel about the way she looks?

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