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Review : Hostage – Quality filmmaking hides indie thriller’s low budget

Is this low budget and small-scale thriller at least worth a chance?

Who is ready to spend an evening with a group of terrible people all under the same roof? Hostage is your jam then. This film boasts a story centered around a family with terrible pasts who capture a robber who broke into their house. Queue hostage number one. But this robber is not the only…and the other has been a hostage much longer. The teenage girl who lives in this family is a hostage after being taken in by the couple who murdered her parents. What a concept?

But does director Eddie Augustin’s thriller do much with this concept? The biggest positives coming out of this film are the technical aspects of the film. Augustin proves he can build tension and deliver thrilling sequences. One that really stands out is a later scene that paints a picture of the events that brought Ashley (the lead) into this murderous family. The film is intense and shocking while it delivers an impressive shot to the gut. The finale of the film also captures this intensity…even if it feels rushed and a tad anticlimactic. Generally, the camera work is intimate and engrossing throughout creating a raw impact.

With some quality filmmaking that really hides its tiny budget, are the other aspects of the film able to deliver? I struggled to really connect or sympathize with any of the characters in the film. That is a tough go. Ashley should really be easy to be sympathetic towards since she lost her parents and has been captured for years. Here is the issue…she is bloodthirsty and dangerous just like her murderous adopted parents. The acting is also either serviceable or shaky. One performance from the father was questionable as I really couldn’t tell what kind of accent they were going for. For a film that is less than 80-minutes, it also really feels like it lags. When you have such an isolated and confined story, you must put your creative shoes on to dance some magic out of the story. Unfortunately, this film feels like it forgot how to dance and decided to just be a wallflower for most of the film.

Is this low budget and small-scale thriller at least worth a chance? If you can get past some unlikeable characters and just enjoy the thrills that are offered, you might find some fun in this one. If not, this will feel like a long 80-minute ride for you that leaves you wanting more by the end.

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