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“Invitation to Dance - It’s a Dance. And sometimes they turn the lights off in this ballroom. But we’ll dance anyway, you and I. Even in the Dark. Especially in the Dark. May I have the pleasure?” --- Stephen King ::::::::::: MY CRITERIA FOR DISCUSSION ENCOMPASSES THE HORROR GENRE AND BEYOND, SO I USE THE TERM "NIGHTMARE MOVIES". SPOILERS CAN OCCUR WITH OR WITHOUT WARNING. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Secuestrados (Kidnapped)

June 27th 2011 23:13
Kidnapped movie poster
The most brutal, unrelenting, and savage horror movie I’ve seen since Martyrs (2007), and like that French piece of tenebrous intensity, just as stylish and deliberately constructed. Kidnapped (2010) is a king-hit of unbridled horror violence and a sustained nightmare tone. This movie is further proof that the most exhilarating, imaginative, and technically extraordinary horror movies are coming out of France and Spain.

The plot of Kidnapped is as lean as it is mean, but this is not a movie concerned with a three-act structure, a dramatic character arc, and the hero’s journey. Kidnapped is an exercise in sustained terrorising; the appalling consequences of a house invasion. Apparently there are a startling number of home invasions in Europe, around three million a year. Kidnapped, with its somewhat misleading title, and its misleading, but entirely captivating prologue (its meaning becomes apparent further down the track), takes place in real time (a very brisk 80-minute running time) and unfolds in what appears to be only a handful of shots. Its elaborate staging is one of the movie’s most impressive elements, and in that way is similar to another Spanish movie, The Silent House (2010). But Kidnapped takes no prisoners.
Kidnapped family and assailants
Jaime (Fernando Cayo), Isa (Manuella Velles) and Marta (Ana Wagener) are held captive
Jaime (Fernando Cayo), his wife Marta (Ana Wagener), and their teenage daughter, Isa (Manuela Vellés) have just moved into a beautiful spacious new house, the removalists still bringing in belongings while Marta attempts to negotiate with her daughter over the socialising priorities of friends vs. family. Jaime is on the phone with tradesmen, less concerned with Isa’s insistence that she goes to a party and doesn’t have to spend the first night playing games with the folks. No such luck, I’m afraid.

Three hooded men smash into the home shortly after the sun has gone down. They force Jaime, Marta and Isa to relinquish their credit cards and codes, and then the head assailant (Britan Biba) takes Jaime for a ride into town to withdraw money leaving Marta and Isa alone with the other two attackers. Isa's friend César (Xoel Yáńez) has yet to arrive, maybe he’ll be a hero, or maybe Jaime will be able to escape from his abductor.
Kidnapped Manuela Velles
Nothing like a little blunt force trauma
The car ride to the ATM is technically the only sequence in the movie that fits the “kidnapping” of the title. The movie should have been titled Home Invasion, because 80% of the movie takes place inside the family home. The prologue sequence depicting the aftermath of a kidnapping is not directly related with the rest of the movie, but suggests a prior felony of the same assailants, or perhaps another case entirely.

Director and co-screenwriter Miguel Ángel Vivas is certainly a talent to watch. His command of the camera and the mise-en-scene is superb. There are several split-screen sequences, one of which joins in the middle at the end of the scene (a visual stylistic Roger Avary achieved to the same effect in The Rules of Attraction), which reminded me of the suspenseful intensity of Brian De Palma. But most impressive was the realistic execution of the few moments of horrendous violence; an arm-snapping, a throat-slitting, and the most horrific death via repeated blunt force trauma to the head since Irreversible (2002).
Kidnapped Manuela Velles
Some viewers may feel cheated by the ending of Kidnapped, but I admire the director’s cojones. Kidnapped is an assault on the senses; it is very demanding and hysterical, and if you live in an apartment and have the volume up neighbours may think you’re watching a snuff movie, but the movie is a genuinely powerful nightmare experience, and the kind of realistic nightmare that is apparently occurring more and more frequently around the world. It's definitely one of the nightmare movies of the year.

I could only find a Dutch teaser trailer, but you get the idea:


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14 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by David O'Connell

June 28th 2011 06:04
Looks fantastic Bryn, where did you get hold of this? Has it been released locally on DVD?

Comment by Anonymous

June 28th 2011 08:20
First of all I would like to say that I love this website and I read all the reviews that are being done.

Ever since i saw Funny Games i've been interested in home invasion thrillers, so I will definitely be checking this out.

You said in the beginning "the most exhilarating, imaginative, and technically extraordinary horror movies are coming out of France and Spain." - I would like to add to that Asian cinematography, especially the horror movies from Japan and Korea.

Comment by Bryn

June 28th 2011 08:32
Hi Anon, great to hear you're such a fan of my site. Which country do you live in?
I'm a big fan of Asian cinema, and have been following movies from Japan for many years, and in more recent years from South Korea. I'm a huge fan of Oldboy; reviewed on my other movie site), although I was very disappointed with End of Animal. I agree there are great movies coming from Asia, but in the last five or so years Spain and France have been kicking proverbial horror butt!

Comment by Bryn

June 28th 2011 08:34
David, Umbrella are distributing Kidnapped. It played at the recent Spanish Film Festival, along with Julia's Eyes, but unfortunately due to work commitments I missed both screenings so they sent me screeners.

Comment by Anonymous

June 28th 2011 08:43
I am from Romania, actually

Personally, I'm a huge fan of Takashi Miike, I just wish he would make some more Odishon type movies in the future.

Three Extremes is one of my favorite movies because it's a combination of 3 Asian genius directors.

- Irene

Comment by Bryn

June 28th 2011 22:25
Hi Irene, great to have a Romanian (region of Dracula) onboard! I'm a very big fan of Miike, and have reviewed several of his movies; Ichi the Killer, Audition, Imprint, Gozu, Sukiyaki Western Django, and Crows Episode 0.
What are "Odishon" type movies? I'm not familiar with the word.

Comment by Anonymous

June 29th 2011 19:34
Lol no, Odishon is Audition, so I meant that type of movies...

My bad, I wasn't clear

- Irene

Comment by Bryn

June 29th 2011 22:52
Ha ha! Yes, Audition is a horror masterpiece.

Comment by confused

July 3rd 2011 08:35
Please help me figure something out.
The movie begins with a man in the woods
with a paper bag around his face.
when he gets to the phone a boy answers the phone. he says they shot mom in the face.
but the mom only had a daughter. (no son)
please help me figure this out, its been bothering me. is this his past or what?

Comment by Bryn

July 3rd 2011 22:19
I was temporarily confused, but realised fairly soon that the opening sequence is indirectly related in that it is another kidnapping occurring elsewhere, prior to the events that follow, possibly involving the same assailants, possibly not. It's telling the audience that this kind of act of terror is happening far more regularly than we'd like to imagine.

Comment by David O'Connell

August 12th 2011 05:36
Just saw this this morning on the big screen, it's now getting a single screen release here before the DVD hits stores. A nasty piece of work but quite a few very intense scenes. That ending truly is unbelievable! And I agree - takes some real balls to seal it like that, especially with that very last shot.

Comment by Bryn

August 13th 2011 04:56
I'm hoping it gets a Sydney season so I can see it again on the big screen.

Comment by Aldin Viray

August 21st 2011 07:20
Hey man cesar was not the Son of the couple that was the friend of their daughter. ALDIN VIRAY!!!

Comment by Bryn

August 22nd 2011 00:56
Aldin, thanks, I'll correct that error immediately!

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