Kidnapped is a Spanish horror film directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas and written by Vivas and Javier García . It covers one terrifying night in the lives one unlucky, upper middle-class family. Jaime (Fernando Cayo), his wife, Marta (Ana Wagener), and their teenage daughter, Isa (Manuela Vellés), have just moved into a new home. Amid the chaos of unpacking, Isa and Marta quarrel, as Isa wants to go out with her boyfriend, and Marta wants the family to spend their first night in their new home together. Before this typical family problem can reach its conclusion, however, three armed, masked men break into the home and hold the family at bay. One of the gunmen drives off with Jaime to empty his bank accounts, and the other two are in charge of guarding the women until the others return. What follows is a terrifying ordeal that tests the boundaries of fear and violence.
Kidnapped is a pretty straightforward Euro Nihilist horror film - very bad, violent, graphic things happen to fairly good people for no real reason. The motives of assailants are never explained (other than they want money), and family (and audience) is never told why they were targeted. And the violence doesn’t slow. This is a very graphic, unwavering film that doesn’t pull its punches.
Vivas borrows heavily from several other films (Funny Games and The Rules of Attraction jump off the screen as obvious influences), but weaves Kidnapped’s pieces together well in order to create an intense piece of suspense. Once the film ratchets up the tension, you rarely get the opportunity to come down again and relax until the credits finally role. While the camera initially cuts back and forth between the events at the house and the events transpiring with Jaime, Vivas eventually goes all de Palma on your ass and split-screens the action, allowing the viewers to focus on both stories simultaneously. The events are perfectly choreographed to allow focal shifts from one story to the other. This tactic also allows both aspects of the plot to peak at the same moment, without cutting away.
I thought that Vivas took a couple of easy outs in this film, but they didn't ruin the overall experience. I will be very interested in watching this director develop and seeing what else he brings us as he fine-tunes his work. This is a well-crafted piece of suspense that gut-punches you in every way it means to. If you don’t mind your innards getting wound up into a tight stress-ball, pick this one up.