The Horror Zine Review
Abducted: Kidnapped and Brutalized
A film by David Bryant
|Director: David Bryant
Actors: John Bocelli, Nina Millns, Sarah Coyle
Release Date: 2013
Run Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Abducted: Kidnapped and Brutalized
A Film by David Bryant
Review by James Potter
Abducted: Kidnapped and Brutalized opens with a woman wearing overalls in the back of van. Her face is covered in a ski mask as she addresses the camera, asking the filmer to capture everything that is going to happen. Suddenly the doors of the van are thrown open and a man is shoved inside and handcuffed as the van speeds off. The man is understandably confused and upset, and asks why they have kidnapped him.
Hoping for sympathy, the victim explains that he was going to be married that day and why are they doing this? Instead of providing answers, his kidnappers taunt him and physical violence follows. His interrogators accuse him of committing a horrific crime that he adamantly denies.
After a length of time, the van parks in the lot of an abandoned warehouse complex. The man is forced inside the building where he is taken to a large room and is now met with an absolutely terrifying sight…the kidnappers have also abducted his fiancé. What follows is a continuation of the violent interrogation, only now his fiancé must watch in horror and confusion. As the interrogation continues, disturbing facts begin to be revealed to the viewer, facts which slowly begin to spin a web of contradictory feelings of anger and sympathy.
I read once that a good story poorly told is always better than a bad story well told. In the case of Abducted, we have a good story well told. David Bryant has not just created an absolutely riveting film but has accomplished this with a budget of only £1,500 pounds.
When I began watching this film, I immediately knew I was in for something special. I was reminded of a film I saw a few years back entitled Russian Ark by Alexander Sokurov. The similarity of the two films was that Sokurov had shot his film in one take and now Bryant has done the exactly same thing: he shot his entire film in one take, no editing…one take, ninety minutes…that was it. Bryant instinctively knew that if he tried to cut and edit his film, the entire emotional effect on the viewer would have been lost.
By shooting the film in this manner, Bryant never allows the viewer to disengage from what is happening in front of them and I felt that I was one of the participants in the interrogation, perhaps even the person holding the camera. It no longer seemed like a film; this was reality and it was happening right in front of my eyes.
What further made the entire event seem so real was because of the quality cast. Nina Millns as the fiancé did not have a significant amount of time, yet in that time she gave an amazingly convincing performance of a woman going through a virtual whirlwind of emotional conflicts. John Bocelli, as the abducted groom, has the very difficult task of having to go through an entire range of emotions on camera nonstop, and was able to pull this off. Sarah Coyle, as the chief interrogator, is excellent in her relentless questioning of John. It could have been so easy to overplay the role and be sadistic, macho if you will, but she doesn’t…she played her role smart, tough but always reserved, always in control of her emotions and that made her convincing. Even Andy Cresswell who plays her associate, though limited on camera, downplayed his role, making him convincing as the follower.
What I also found intriguing is that Abducted does not take sides or form an opinion about what the viewer is watching. The movie challenges you to think and to form your own conclusions. The ending doesn’t take the easy way out with a stereotyped finish, but instead leaves you wondering what the future will bring for all of the people involved in this incident.
I only have one negative to mention about this film and that is the title. It was originally titled “Victims” for release in England. I wish that title had remained because the film really is about how an individual’s experiences in life can indeed make him or her a victim.
But I can say that Abducted got into my head, and days after the viewing I was still thinking about it. Bryant’s film is an intelligent, sophisticated work showing that with a strong script, financial constraints can be overcome, because in the end it is always the story that matters.
To say I like this film in an understatement. It is a breath of fresh air; exciting and invigorating. I can liken it to French New Wave cinematography, because once you have seen Abducted, it will not be easily forgotten.
See the movie HERE
About the Filmmaker
David Bryant was a child of 80’s cinema, growing up on the wave of feel good genre movies. From an early age David wanted to write and direct films, looking at Spielberg, Lucas, Zemekis as the true movie stars.
Though being told by almost everyone that a career in film was impossible, starting from nowhere David persevered through college, producing short films on a VHS-C camcorder. These films gained him a place on a film degree course at the University of Wales where David met Richard Stiles and Seb Smith, two like-minded film makers.
Following graduation, the trio co-produced numerous short films before embarking on the no budget horror feature Dead Wood. That was a long and difficult process with lots of FX work. Upon completion, Dead Wood was screened at several festivals and sold around the world including Lionsgate for North American distribution.
David followed this up with his zero budget solo production Victims (retitled Abducted: Kidnapped and Brutalized in the United States). With financial and time restraints, David decided to produce a single take found footage kidnap thriller, an attempt to portray a realistic abduction while dealing with a very contemporary and very serious subject. The film was screened at several high profile international festivals, winning awards for Best Screenplay and Best Drama and garnering fantastic reviews.
About the reviewer
James Potter’s entire career has been based in the creative field of advertising and film. He began as an art director and eventually became a creative director of ads for print, radio and television.
He feels that the single most influential experience in film was Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner. Shortly after that, he received his first exposure to feature films, working as an extra in Robert Altman's Kansas City. When the filming was complete, he was determined to start his own ad agency and concentrated on television commercials.