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Simon Read [Film Festival 10.13.11] movie review horror thriller Spanish

Year: 2010
Directors: Miguel Ángel Vivas
Writers: Miguel Ángel Vivas/Javier García
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 8 out of 10

Filmed in a handful of uninterrupted takes, Kidnapped is a seriously impressive thriller from Spain and without doubt one of the best films at GrimmUpNorth this year. It concerns an upper middle-class family in the suburbs of Madrid who have just bought a new house in a gated community and are in the process of moving in. During a family row however, three masked men burst into the house and hold the family hostage, demanding cash, credit cards and anything they can get their gloved hands on. This film is one wild ride and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a rollercoaster movie that won’t let up for a second.

One of the joys of the film is that we get to meet this family first, and get a glimpse of their personalities. Father, Jaime, is a laid back family man, probably an executive in the city who dotes on his spoiled daughter. His wife, Marta, is a homemaker, obsessed with having the best of everything in her house and far more strict with their daughter Isa, who’s a typical spoilt girl in her late teens. However, once the men break-in the entire family, quite understandably, goes into a collective state of shock, thus halting any further exploration of their characters, after which we begin to meet the thieves instead, each of whom has their own motivations and idiosyncrasies. We never get their names but I dubbed them respectively as, ‘The Operator’, ‘The Nice One’ and ‘The Psycho’, which gives you an indication as to how things might turn out. The Operator takes Jaime on a drive around the city to empty his bank accounts at ATMs, ever with the threat that if he tries any funny stuff it’s just one phone call that’s needed to end his family forever. Meanwhile back at home things get tense as The Nice One tries to keep things cool and The Psycho makes lewd sexual advances towards the two women and snorts the occasional line of blow. He’s defiantly the asshole of the group.

To reveal any more would be spoiling things, but suffice to say, things get messy, really, really messy. The film becomes very dark and violent but contains moments of laugh-out-loud humour due to simply how outrageous it all becomes. Director Miguel Ángel Vivas employs creative split screen techniques that call to mind Brian De Palma if he had just smoked a large dose of crack. These scenes keep the viewer glued to the screen as we search each panel for any sudden bursts of action and violence. The mood is intense right from moment the men arrive, and even beforehand we get hints of what’s to come, for instance while unpacking, Jaime gazes forlornly at an ugly, football sized metal egg sculpture and laments that he’d hope they’d have lost it with the move. Will this giant egg come in handy later? We hope so, and are rewarded with a scene so bizarre and grotesque that it defies description.

Kidnapped does contain scenes of extreme gore and some sexual violence that might offend some people. Being as I was at a horror festival I was braced for anything and didn’t mind these at all, but it warrants mentioning. Other than that, this a terrific, stylish little thriller and I highly recommend to anyone looking for something brutal, bloody and at times darkly funny and amusing.

[editor's note: I reviewed Kidnapped a while back and had the same reaction. It really is f'ing great.]

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(10 years ago) Reply

who gave you the right to name them? is that the extent of your creativity?


agentorange (10 years ago) Reply



(10 years ago) Reply

really lame little names you gave there


projectcyclops (10 years ago) Reply

Well thanks, I think you've given us much to think about. What's in a name? ...

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