12th May2022

‘Captors (aka Alone)’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Yulia Klass, Bruce Davison Josh Kelly, Michelle Burke, Michael Pare, Mark Rolston | Written by Philip Daay | Directed by James Cullen Bressack

Ever since the first time I saw his film My Pure Joy I’ve always been interested to see director (and now producer) James Cullen Bressack’s “next” film. I’ve seen pretty much every horror film he has put out. EVERY ONE. I mean come on, I love the man’s work so much we tried to release a number of his films in the UK via our “Nerdly Presents” banner, an effort which saw Bressack’s Hate Crime officially make the banned by the BBFC list and To Jennifer make it out to VOD in 2o15 via the now-defunct TheHorrorShow.TV streaming service.

In recent years Bressack has tackled more mainstream fare, including a few Bruce Willis movies like Survive the Game and Fortress. But now, with Captors aka Alone (which was apparently shot before the aforementioned Willis movies), he returns to the horror genre with a film that sounds very much like the just-reviewed Faye.

Captors centres on a woman, Alys (Yulia Klass), who had been the victim of sex trafficking and escaped her captor in the dead of night. Ten years later, she’s told that her father has left her a cabin in the woods in his will. Only it’s not her father, instead it’s the home of her former kidnapper, a home where he will test her sanity and force her to fight to survive. Again.

I say Captors is similar to Faye, as both that film and this feature a lone woman heading off to a remote location alone and suffering through strange events. However, unlike Faye, Captors is whole-heartedly an out-and-out horror. There’s still a question of whether this is all in Alys’ mind, as it was in Faye’s – are her repressed memories coming to the surface? Is it PTSD? But the horror aspects are ramped up much more – at one point, besides all the psychological torment, Alys’ mental breakdown also features apparent ghosts and ghouls as the horror is REALLY laid on thick!

If things are just happening in Alys’ mind, she’s far more warped and twisted and, more importantly, damaged by her life experiences than the titular Faye was in her film. Alys really goes through the wringer here. In fact, it’s almost Saw-like in her torment… If any of it is real. For this “home” is a trap, designed to make her lose her mind, re-live her torment and question everything she thinks she knows. It’s even more torture at the hands of her captor, even though her captor is dead. The idea that Alys has been given a home by her captor, in some sort of twisted trap, albeit a psychological one, is reminiscent of both the aforementioned Saw and The Collector (and there are some real traps hidden in the home) but there’s still an air of mystery about the film. Signs point to everything being real one minute and all in Alys’ mind the next. If the lines between sanity and insanity are extremely blurred in Captors, so is Alys’ story of escaping her captor.

Unfortunately, there’s a denouement, a final coda, that makes a profound point about human trafficking but also blurs the lines of truth and reality even further. If women who are trafficked suffer huge psychological damage, is EVERYTHING we’ve seen a fallacy? Is it all, apart from the final moments of her stay at the home, made up by Alys? And the fact we once again see Alys captor even before that coda muddies the water even further. If there’s an issue with Captors it’s that the film needed a more definitive answer, even if the filmmaker thought what we got WAS a definitive answer!

**½  2.5/5

Captors is set for a US release on digital on May 24th courtesy of Lionsgate, with a UK debut currently scheduled for August 22nd from High Fliers.

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