Trapped Review

When a screenwriter decides to write another, predictable ransom thriller, why is it always the attractive, rich families with mansions on lakes that become the hapless victims? In reality, stranger abductions hit all socio-economic groups, so why are the poor families in the movies immune? A more cynical take on the genre would find a meager family with such ransom obstacles.

In Trapped, the latest in this tiresome genre, the kidnappers' true motive is not greed, despite the fact that they request a ransom for good measure. Will Jennings (Stuart Townsend) is a successful anesthesiologist with a beautiful lakeshore home he shares with his gorgeous wife Karen (Charlize Theron) and their adorable little daughter Abby (Dakota Fanning). While Will is away at a medical conference, kidnappers Joe Hickey (Kevin Bacon) and Marvin Pool (Pruitt Taylor Vince) quietly break into the Jennings' home and take Abby. Marvin leaves with Abby and Joe stays behind with the irate Karen to guide her through his plan. Meanwhile, at the conference, Will meets up with a third accomplice in the kidnapping, Cheryl Hickey (Courtney Love) who holds him hostage in his hotel room.

Their ridiculously inept plan is simple: Joe babysits and possibly sleeps with Karen while the bumbling Marvin ensures Abby doesn't have an asthma attack. As for the unsettled Cheryl, she's required to keep Will out of the way by seducing him. Each has a cell phone they use to call each other every 30 minutes for the next 24 hours until the ransom is successfully paid. If a phone call isn't made, little Abby is supposed to be killed. Each player is too stupid to stick to the plan though, and slowly everything starts to crumble. All of this leads up to a messy and convoluted ending that will appall any parent - that is, if the rest of the movie hasn't done so already.

We're supposed to believe Trapped is different from other ransom pictures because the motives of the criminals are not strictly monetary. Trapped has good intentions, but contradicts itself at every turn. The trio has accomplished the same abduction scheme four times prior without being caught. Joe insists Abby's abduction isn't about the money, but when we find out the true motive, we question what exactly the point was of the previous abductions? Were they just practicing for the "real deal" against the Jennings family? Why does he set a ransom anyhow, especially after he explains kidnapping how ransoms never work?

Beyond the nagging plot issues, I wonder why talented actors like Bacon and Theron would even choose to participate in such an incompetent project. Did they actually believe this film effectively utilized their skills? I will admit that, Trapped is a perfect fit for Love, who demonstrates she lacks any acting skills whatsoever! I guess this would explain why she spends the entire movie with her breasts popping out of her shirt. Unfortunately, even that wasn't entertaining.

Trapped is never engaging, utterly predictable and completely void of anything remotely interesting or suspenseful. If it weren't for the kidnappers' incessant phone calls keeping me awake, I could have slept through the film and would have been better off for it.

Trapped... but only for 89 more minutes.

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th September 2002

Box Office USA: $6.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $6.9M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Colombia Pictures, Senator Film Produktion, Propaganda Films

Reviews 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 46

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew


Starring: as Karen Jennings, as Joe Hickey, as Cheryl Hickey, as William "Will" Jennings, as Abigal "Abby" Jennings, as Marvin, as Joan Evans, as Hank Ferris, Garry Chalk as Agent Chalmers, as Mary McDill, Matt Koby as Peter McDill, Gerry Becker as Dr. Stein, Andrew Airlie as Holden, Randi Lynne as Hotel Operator, J.B. Bivens as Gray Davidson