Call it a horrible case of kismet for Trapped, a movie about a child abduction that happens to bow in a summer where high profile child abductions are dominating the news. Because of the unfortunate coincidence, the makers of Trapped participated in a voluntary media blackout, not granting interviews, drastically cutting back on advertising, and not giving any advance screenings. It doesn't help that as a movie, Trapped is not very good. In fact, it comes close to being a total stinker. This is the type of movie that starts with a promising idea, then beats it down with conventional storytelling and ridiculous situations.

The ending sequence is enough to spoil the movie, which is pretty decent for the first quarter or so. Any sense of drama that the film wants to build turns into silliness. The premise is that a group of three people elaborately plan child kidnappings for money. One stays with the child, and the other two each stay with a parent for a total of twenty-four hours. They will ask for a large sum of money to be delivered after the day, so that it will look less suspicious. They make no effort to conceal their identities, using the potential death of the child as leverage. Greg Iles adapted Trapped from his own book 24 Hours. This is just another example of how something that might work in a book does not necessarily work in a movie.

The target this time is Abby (Dakota Fanning, I Am Sam, Tomcats), the impossibly cute and precocious daughter of Dr. Will Jennings (Stuart Townsend, Queen of the Damned, About Adam) and his wife Karen (Charlize Theron, Curse of the Jade Scorpion, 15 Minutes). Will is an up-and-coming doctor, at a conference to tout a new breakthrough he pioneered, that could result in many lives saved. Of course, the entire family loves each other to death. So when the kidnappers snatch Abby, Will and Karen nearly go insane. Abby is staying with Marvin (Pruitt Taylor Vance, Simone, The Cell) in a small cabin in the Oregon woods. At the conference, Cheryl (Courtney Love, Beat, Man on the Moon) has Will holed up in his hotel room. The bulk of the movie focuses on Karen, trapped in her home by Joe (Kevin Bacon, Novocaine, Hollow Man). Theron and Bacon both play their roles over the top, cheapening the effect of the drama.

Things quickly unravel when director Luis Mandoki (Angel Eyes, Message in a Bottle) has each person rise to the occasion. Will, Karen, and even Abby all have the wits to come up with a plan to outsmart his/her captor. It doesn't help that each kidnapper, although portrayed as fairly intelligent (they have to be in order to come up with such a plan) acts more than ineptly when confronted with stress. They miss one crucial piece of information about Abby that threatens their entire plan. Plus, when each seems to say something random and out of context, it's a sure sign that it will relate somehow to the ending and their initial motives. It's often amusing when film titles unintentionally say something about the movie. Trapped is what audiences feel like when watching this movie.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated R for violence and sexual content.

Back to Movies