These Are The 7 Scariest Horror Movies About Kidnappings

From cult favorites to Oscar winning masterpieces.

By Eric Shorey

What if a loved one of yours suddenly disappeared? What would you do? How would you get them back? This has been a question on filmmakers' minds since the beginning of cinema. Now, we're exploring some of the scariest films about kidnapping. Here's our list of the most disturbing films on the subject:

1. The Vanishing (1988)

Remade for American audiences in 1993, this Dutch-language retelling of the novella The Golden Egg, this film received the highest of praises at the time of it's release. Even Stanley Kubrick was a fan, saying it was scarier than his own masterpiece, The Shining.

2. Silence of the Lambs (1991)

One of the most widely celebrated horror movies of all time (although some will describe it as a thriller), the recently-departed Jonathan Demme's magnum opus has left an indelible mark on contemporary cinema. Adapted from Thomas Harris' novel of the same name, the story of fictional serial killers Buffalo Bill and Hannibal Lector continue to infuence filmmakers to this day.

3. The Cell (2000)

Visionary director Tarsem managed to transform a clunky script about a serial kidnapper into a surrealist exploration of the human psyche. Costumed by the legendary Eiko Ishioka, this cult classic's production introduced the director as a visual artist to be reckoned with. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Lopez are hilariously miscast, but somehow pull through anyway.

4. Taken (2008)

Although it spurned a series of comically campy sequels, the original Taken film is a high-itensity exploration of the drama surrounding the kidnapping of a CIA director's daughter. Those criminals messed with the wrong guy, and Liam Neeson is out for revenge. Perhaps the movie is a bit low-brow, but it's suspenseful nonetheless.

5. Oldboy (2003)

Ignore the American remake of this movie at all costs; the original Korean version is an absolute triumph of filmmaking. Directed by the master of revenge cinema, Park Chan-wook, this ultra-violent classic tells the story of a man abducted and kept in a room for 15 years with seemingly no explanation. When he finally gets out, he embarks on a labyrinthine journey to figure out who put him there.

6. Misery (1990)

Stephen King's experiences with crazed fans inspired the novel this movie is based on. Kathy Bates plays a squeeky clean superfan of fictional writer Paul Sheldon (played by James Caan) who sadistically imprisons her idol after finding him injured in an accident. Bates' phenomonal performance garnered her an Oscar.

7. The Woman (2011)

A seemingly perfect family finds a feral woman in their backyard and decides, for whatever reason, to keep her chained in a shed as a pet. Lucky McKee's repulsive yet strangely contemplative movie explores the compunctions of masculinity and femininity. 

8. Singapore Sling (1990)

Shot to mimic the film noir movies of yesteryear, Singapore Sling has become a bizarre underground phenomenon. "When I was shooting Singapore Sling, I was under the impression that I was making a comedy with elements taken from Ancient Greek Tragedy... Later, when some European and American critics characterized it as 'one of the most disturbing films of all times,' I started to feel that something was wrong with me. Then, when British censors banned its release in England, I finally realized that something is wrong with all of us," said director Nikos Nikolaidis

[Photo: Screenshot from YouTube]

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