Named best horror film at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, “Kidnapped” is a technically proficient and aggressively unpleasant suspenser about sadistic home invaders who torment a family of upscale Madrid suburbanites. For those impressed by such things, filmmaker Miguel Angel Vivas displays considerable imagination and industriousness while rising to his self-imposed challenge of unfolding his yarn more or less in real time in a series of a dozen or so extended takes, occasionally employing split-screen visuals to effectively depict simultaneous action. Pic likely won’t sell many tickets, but should serve Vivas well as a calling card.Yet another entry in a subgenre that dates back to “The Desperate Hours,” “Kidnapped” seldom lets up after three masked hoodlums break into the home shared by middle-aged Jamie (Fernando Cayo) and Marta (Ana Wagener), and their 18-year-old daughter, Isa (Manuela Velles). While one thug drives Jamie to various ATMs to empty out bank accounts, his companions repeatedly threaten the womenfolk. Everything leads to a violent ending that seems, even by genre standards, wrenchingly nihilistic — which, of course, could be a selling point.
A Vaca Films production in association with La Fabrique 2, Blur Prods. and Attic. (International sales: Filmax Intl., Barcelona.) Produced by Emma Lustres, Borja Pena. Co-producers, Franck Ribiere, Verane Frediani, Mario Fornies, Rafael Endeiza. Directed by Miguel Angel Vivas. Screenplay, Vivas, Javier Garcia.
Camera (Technicolor), Pedro J. Marquez; editor, Jose Manuel Jimenez; music, Sergio Moure; production designer, Miguel Riesco; costume designer, Montse Sancho. Reviewed at Fantastic Fest, Austin, Sept. 25, 2010. Running time: 85 MIN.
Fernando Cayo, Manuela Velles, Ana Wagener, Guillermo Barrienttos, Martijn Kuiper, Dritan Biba, Xoel Yanez. (Spanish dialogue)