DVD REVIEW: THE CAPTIVE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: LUKE MASSEY / SCREENPLAY: LUKE MASSEY, BENJAMIN READ / STARRING: JOSEPH MORGAN, MATT RYAN, WILLIAM TROUGHTON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Royal Marine AJ Budd (Morgan) wakes up in a strange house. He doesn’t know where he is or how he got there, but every now and again he gets attacked by things which looks like cut-price orcs. Alone and isolated, he starts to lose his grip on sanity as the days roll by with no end in sight for his inexplicable predicament.
There is the kernel of a good idea lurking somewhere in the middle of The Captive. The movie’s psychological conceit – one man’s slow mental deterioration in an impossible situation – has a lot of potential, but in the end it all amounts to not really very much as there’s just not enough going on even to justify the film’s meagre 60-odd minute running time. What we have here might just about pass muster as an episode of a supernatural anthology series, if such a thing were to still exist, but it’s thin gruel indeed across an extended running time.
There are other problems. Paying careful attention to the very beginning of the movie pretty much flags up the ‘twist’ ending, and the limitations of the film’s clearly pitiful budget are impossible to overlook. The Captive looks as if it was filmed almost entirely in someone’s living room (and occasionally their cellar) and Budd‘s “grotesque inhuman opponents” (who attack one at a time) are clearly just the same bloke in the same ropey costume. Although Joseph Morgan gives his role as the disintegrating soldier his all, he’s hampered by the fact that he really hasn’t got enough to do and the story lacks the breadth of material needed to give the film or his performance any real momentum.
But despite its shortcomings, The Captive isn’t entirely without merit. Director Luke Massey makes the best of the meagre resources available to him and whilst he’s not able to rustle up a silk purse out of this sow’s ear, he makes the best of a bad job and churns out a workmanlike and watchable film. But it could have been so much better with a bit more cash and a slightly more ambitious script.