Director: Miguel Ángel Vivas
Three hooded criminals break into a fancy house in Madrid Spain and take the family hostage. Why? Money, what else (get jobs ya freaking bums). Things go from bad, to worse, to f*ck me man, this is ruining me!
Man I'm getting my ass served by these home invasion movies here at Fantastic Fest 2010; first it was Darren Bousman's MOTHER'S DAY that whooped me stupid and then it was Miguel Ángel Vivas KIDNAPPED (aka Secuestrados) turn to uppercut me and send me to the mat to count dead sheep and pray for my mommy to come help me up. I need to see a monster movie or something, or a ghost story, cause being reminded of what a messed up and cruel world we live in via these types of films is starting to bum me out and make me flirt with the JD bottle. Hey, I'm sensitive.
Although, I am worn out by these break in, rape and hurt you fellow man genre stabbers I cannot deny the artistry, superior talent and utter power of KIDNAPPED. The film pretty pushed all the right buttons to make me jump like the monkey that I am. The flick reeled me in swiftly via its intimate cinema verite style (hand held wide shots, close shots and brilliant steady cam work). I often felt like I was spying on the characters in this film which in turn involved me further in the rough going ons. Another ploy that Vivas used to bring his storyline home with gusto was the use of split screen which would relay the progression of the two visceral plot lines at the same time. That resulted in an overdose of tension and I won't say that I was on the edge of my seat... cause there was no seat left. On the casting front, the actors were all no names and that worked in the film's favor big time. They felt very real and all of the performances were on the money, skip the change. Fernando Cayo as the father trying to save his family and Manuela Vellés as the teen daughter who's put through hell stood out the most for me. Grounded, focused and emotionally charged showcases. With that stabbed, Dritan Biba as the brain villain was the big revelation of the film; his low key, charismatic yet absolutely chilling demeanor had me by the throat and wouldn't stop squeezing. I expect great things for this cabrone's career.
Moreover, throughout my watch, I couldn't help but marvel at the way Vivas handled his pace and build up. He really messed with my head; I kept hoping that all would turn out well, kept praying that the leads wouldn't do stupid shit, hoping, hoping, hoping. Yup, an oppressive layer of dread was layered on thick on this one and the more the clocked ticked forward, the more I realized that it would sadly not be an easy affair. Tag to that an un-intrusive score that worked wonders for the picture by only taking centre stage at the right times, a gripping dabble in the stockholm syndrome (where a hostage almost befriends his a captor), suspense galore and an ending that ruined me...no you don't get it, it COMPLETELY DESTROYED ME and you get a genre classic that I'm sure people will recognize as its discovered. Any qualms with the film? Well one plot device was kind of telegraphed and this thought crossed my mind "Why do crooks always bring that ONE cracked up, live wire dude on their jobs? Like do they want the home invasion to go wrong? Come on! Pick a more stable partner! Furthermore, the hero characters would sometimes pose actions that I didn't agree with, moves that just brought more pain on themselves, it was kind of frustrating. Now that I think of it though, that wasn't really a fault; it was more about me being so involved and caring so much for these characters that I got riled up every time they stumbled and made mistakes. Who knows how one would react in this kind of situation? Depends on who you are and how cool you are under pressure I guess.
All in all Kidnapped showed me once again that much like France, Spain is a cesspool of genre talent; the best horror films just keep coming out of there and hey, I'm not complaining. KIDNAPPED was akin to a vice grip wrapped around one's head, one that kept squeezing till eyeballs popped out. There's a new, strong, loud and proud voice in horror and its called Miguel Ángel Vivas. Recognize!
The gore in the film came out of left field and shocked the hell out of me. So in wanting yall to have that same OUCH feeling when you watch it, I won't give away the gags here. Although seldom, when the red got kicking, it hurt.
T & A
Some dude's pubes and ass. There's also sex in the film... but its nothing fun.
KIDNAPPED was the equivalent of being tortured and then viciously knocked out with a sledge hammer. Its been a while since a film has affected me so much and I HIGHLY recommend you do everything you can to find it and experience it; just don't expect to be too chipper afterward. Masterfully directed, with amazing actors and a handful of moments that will have you squirming in your seat; Kidnapped is a new genre classic.
The film was shot in Las Rozas, Madrid, Spain
Kidnapped is second feature, he also directed Reflections in 2002.