Kidnapped-PosterAvailable Netflix Instant and Apple iTunes store? Yes, but the film has been dubbed into English.

There is probably no better advertisement for the NRA than the Spanish film, KIDNAPPED (SECUESTRADOS). If the family in this movie had a gun in the house, this film would have ended in about 10 minutes. They do not and so instead we are treated to an hour and 25 minutes of torture porn that you will either find compellingly watchable or disgustingly repulsive. The film has a huge spoiler, which I will discuss. If you plan on seeing KIDNAPPED, then please do not read this review because the spoiler is a huge part of what makes this film memorable.

KIDNAPPED is quite simply about an affluent Spaniard family that has just moved into a beautiful new house in the suburbs of Madrid. However, on their first night in their new house, the family gets invaded by a trio of masked Albanian burglars. The film seems to take place over the span of 1 night and it more or less takes place in real time (or at least it does a very good job making you think that it does). The motivation behind the burglary is obviously to steal the family’s money, but its never revealed why this family is targeted. We don’t even know what the husband does for a living, which perhaps would provide a clue why his family was targeted. The only shred of background information we are given about the burglars is at the very beginning of the film. KIDNAPPED opens with a bloodied man wearing a suit who has a plastic bag tied over his head. A stranger finds him and provides the man with his cell phone to call home. When he does, the man is told by his son that burglars have killed his wife. From that, we surmise the burglars regularly target wealthy families and steal their money.

The family is not presented in the most sympathetic manner and this provides the audience with its biggest clue as to the family’s fate. The husband comes off as a sort of douchebag. When he arrives home from work, he parks his car and blocks the movers from continuing their job. When a young mover asks him if he can move his car, the husband basically refuses. The wife is the most likeable character, but she’s your typical wealthy housewife whose problems don’t go beyond whether hot water is available or whether the internet has been hooked up to the house. As for their young teenage daughter, if there is one character you want to see die, it is her. She’s a spoiled brat who yells at her mom and manipulates her parents to get what she wants. In this case, she wants to hang out with her boyfriend instead of taking part in a celebratory family dinner on the family’s first night in their new house.

Its not long before the burglars show up to the house and when that happens, the tempo of the film kicks into high gear. The burglars are ruthless and methodical in how they carry out their plan. The head burglar takes the husband out to an ATM to withdraw cash while the other two remain behind to watch the mother and daughter. Predictably, one of the burglars is impulsive and irrational while the other is relatively timid and sympathetic towards the family. I didn’t care for these characterizations because you can immediately predict that the impulsive burglar will unravel the thieves’ plan while the sympathetic burglar will protect the mother and daughter against the impulsive burglar. We have seen this dynamic in many movies before. The story would have been better served if the thieves were all equally ruthless and professional (which one would think they are if they have carried out jobs like this before). That way, when the daughter decides to grow some balls and fight back, her victory would be better earned.

Another big issue with KIDNAPPED is that the mother and especially the daughter spend practically their ENTIRE ordeal crying and screaming. I don’t know what most people do in these situations, but regardless of what happens in most real life situations, portraying the mother and daughter as completely incapacitated both physically and mentally reduced my empathy for them. How much cooler would it be for these women to figure out a plan to overcome their assailants and take charge of the situation? Many situations are presented during the film where the ladies could have easily either gotten away and/or armed themselves with a weapon. Instead, they either hesitate or freeze up at every opportune moment. The most interesting character in the film is the husband and this is because he is the only character who is courageous enough to find a way out of his dilemma.

KIDNAPPED does not reinvent the thriller genre. As I have pointed out with the characterizations of the burglars, the film retreads familiar territory. The film’s other clichéd scenes include the lack of a cellular signal when the mother attempts to call the police, the appearance of unexpected houseguests such as the daughter’s boyfriend and a security guard, and the rape of the daughter. The director, Miguel Angel Vivas, simply focuses on crafting a technically designed suspense thriller. The story has zero subtext other than possibly pointing out the class differences between the family (haves) and the burglars (have nots). The director’s possible disdain for the wealthy Spanish class reveals itself at the very end of the film when the entire family is killed off by the head burglar. It is the film’s most memorable moment and unfortunately, the film’s sole creative element.

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