Hostage Video

"Those arenít the words of a certified clinical psychologist filing a report... those are the words of a woman with a bag over her head, sitting between a camera and a flag, moments before her third fingerís hacked off."
Colm Mullan, Chrysalis Visits The Hague

A more modern version of the classic ransom note, gaining popularity in recent years with the increasing use of the internet and real life use by groups like Al-Qaeda.

Basically, our particular hostage is tied to a chair with a flag backdrop, while one or more bad guys in balaclavas look menacing with firearms. Then the hostage is forced to a) denounce his country b) read out his captors' demands c) beg his nation's leaders to help or d) a combination thereof.

Other variations include placing the hostage in mortal peril with a ticking clock.

If the bad guys don't get what they want, things might turn into a Snuff Film.


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  • The second Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous had a hostage video of Cheryl and Stan, which was the whole reason the rest of the movie happened.
  • In Iron Man, Tony Stark is shown in in one after his capture. It turns out that the terrorist group that kidnapped him are asking for more money to kill him for Obadiah Stane, after finding out who he is.
  • In The Kingdom (2007), Adam Leavitt (Jason Bateman) is used to make one after being kidnapped by Saudi terrorists. It gets interrupted when his colleagues arrive and kill or wound his captors.


    Live Action TV 
  • The Bill had this happen to Abigail Nixon, who was tied up in a shipping container and left to suffocate.
  • 24 likes this trope a lot, such as with Secretary Heller in Season 4.
  • Airwolf did this once, with a group of totally uncooperative hostages.
  • CSI had one with where the rest of the time could watch their teammate Nick Stokes trapped in a box and Buried Alive.
  • Castle did this with some guy that had his son kidnapped. The son manages to sneak in a hidden message.
  • In the first episode of Black Mirror a member of the royal family gets kidnapped with the single demand of the Prime Minster to have sex with a pig on live TV. The real kicker is that it's sent over youtube so everybody knows about it.
  • The baddies on Day Break leave one these behind showing Hopper's brother-in-law bruised up and tied to a chair.

    Video Games 
  • One piece of background material from Homefront's tie-in website was a video released by radical American militia-types showing a captured Korean soldier forced to denounce his home country and praise America. The site's "curator", ostensibly using the site to chronicle everything following America's collapse to the present day, expressed discomfort over including the video, since it showed just how far America had really fallen, but felt compelled to anyway for the sake of completion.
  • Yandere-chan uses this in Yandere Simulator, kidnapping Musume Ronshaku in order to get her father Mr. Ronshaku, a notorious Loan Shark, to release Kokona's father and all his other clients from their debt to him.

    Web Original 
  • The Game Heroes do this with The Nostalgia Critic when they kidnap him. What do they want? More people to buy their t-shirts.
  • This Is It used this trope to promote their Kickstarter for Don't Hug Me I'm Scared . The first one is a more descriptive video showing the red thing reading out the captor's demands (money) while a synthesized voice describes what the show is about and what the kickstarter is for. The next two are much shorter and really, really threatening.
  • Rapunzel's kidnapper has her make one in University Ever After, in which she reads a riddle giving her friends a twelve hours to figure out what the kidnapper wants and where they're keeping her.