July 10, 2009
The Betrayed (2008) is one of those little seen thrillers that is released with little to no fanfare on home video and ends up becoming a regular staple late at night on a movie television channel. It’s a shame because obviously a lot of hard work went into making this film only for it to be relegated to obscurity.
Jamie Taylor (George) wakes up in dank basement in a warehouse only to realize that she is being held captive by a mysterious man named Alec (Fehr). If she answers his questions then he will let her and her son Michael (Levins) go. Alec wants to know about Jamie’s husband Kevin (Campbell) whom she was going to pick up at the airport when she was kidnapped. Alec tells Jamie that her husband owes him and the people he works for millions of dollars. He also tells her that, unbeknownst to her, Kevin is in league with these criminals. Apparently, he was part of a deal, killed the other people who were in on it and split with the money. As Jamie learns about Kevin’s secret life she tries to figure out how to escape with her son. The Betrayed proceeds to play out a battle of wills between Jamie and her kidnappers.
Melissa George, known to genre fans for her memorable role in 30 Days of Night (2007), plays a resourceful woman under extreme pressure. The actress has an inherent ability to come across as likable and so we instantly sympathize with her. This character could have so easily been a one-note victim but George shows Jamie’s inner strength and, towards the end of the film, her ability to turn the tables on her captors. Oded Fehr, a genre veteran (see The Mummy and Resident Evil films), is quite good as the ruthless kidnapper. His character could have also come across as a tired old stereotype but Fehr gives us glimpses of additional layers to Alec. As the film progresses, we begin to understand Jamie and Alec’s motivations and how they inform their actions. The two actors play well off each other, which is crucial as they are practically in every scene together.
There are a few nice plot twists in The Betrayed that keep you guessing as to how it will play out. The filmmakers certainly aren’t reinventing the wheel on this one but they also aren’t trying to. Instead, we have a pretty engaging thriller that, by the end, doesn’t feel like you’ve wasted 90 minutes of your life. And sometimes that’s good enough.