Sunday, July 24, 2011

Horror Film Review

Tormented (2009):  Slasher/revenge/zombie flick from Britain.  More slasher than zombie, though.  Bummer.  There is some humor, but it rings hollow because the characters bringing the funny are so incredibly unlikeable.  So am I saying the movie's bad?  Not really.  The saving grace is the revenge factor.

It opens with a memorial service at a prep school.  Bullied student Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) hanged himself.  Head student Justine (Tuppence Middleton) is giving a sort of eulogy when she's interrupted by geeky student Jason (Olly Alexander) who screams that she's a hypocrite and that all of the students were responsible for Mullet's death.  He's not wrong.  We learn Mullet, asthmatic and grossly overweight, was mercilessly picked on by the "cool" kids lead by Bradley (Alex Pettyfer).  Turns out Mullet had a crush on Justine, although she didn't even know who he was.  But now Justine has been accepted into Bradley's clique via Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas), a smooth talker who starts dating her.  To her horror, she learns the extent of their cruelty from videos they posted on a website.  Even more to her horror, she watches as Mullet begs her for help, to make them stop, but she's on her cell and brushes him off.  She didn't remember the incident at all. 

Soon, everyone starts getting cruel texts sent from Mullet's cell phone.  Shortly thereafter, Mullet begins the revenge thing.  I know I said zombie earlier, and that's what he looks like, but the more I think about it, he's got to be a zombie/ghost hybrid.  Or something.  Either way, he goes to work...drowning, beheading, stabbing, etc.  He's not terribly creative.  I didn't have a problem with Mullet exacting his revenge.  I did, however, had a problem with Mullet going after his geeky friend Jason.  That made no sense to me and really crossed the line.  I reckon you just can't reason with a pissed off zombie ghost.

I can't think of any other movie with so many detestable characters.  Everyone's an asshole.  Except for Jason.  He I liked.  So of course he gets killed.  Anyway, the film tries to be a cautionary tale about bullying.  Pretty effective.  Think about it...if you were bullied to such a degree that suicide was your only way out, wouldn't you come back to kick some ass?

By the way, I wanted to mention that this is an IFC-produced film, therefore the DVD has a bunch of good trailers for other IFC horror.  In my experience, IFC beats out all other horror producers, including Lions Gate and Afterdark. 

The Breakdown

Acting:  Oh, it's fine.  Mostly.  Too bad everyone's a jerk, though.  Except for Jason.  (That's gonna bug me for a while.)
Story:  Simple, even cliched revenge.  Nothing new here.
Direction:  With so many characters, it's tough to tie everything together cohesively.  Only a few missteps by director Jon Wright.  Even at 87 minutes, I felt more editing should have been done to tighten it up.
Production Values:  They're high enough.  No low-budget feel.  Besides IFC, BBC was also involved, so you know it's going to look good.
Gore/FX:  Indeed.  A bit over the top at times.  The chopping off of the hands scene was particularly bloody.  The severed penis in the condom part was also...well, you know.
Scares:  Not so much.  They even ripped off Halloween when Mullet is supposedly dead (again) but then sits up in the background of the scene.  Kind of lame, guys.
The Ending:  It's not awful.  Justine lives and is blamed for the murders.  In this case, I wouldn't have minded a twist or two.
The Verdict:  Should you see Tormented?  It's worth a look, especially if you've ever been a victim of bullying.  If you are currently a victim of bullying, I'd like to remind you that these pricks are insecure, jealous, and so not worth worrying about.  Don't let them win by killing yourself.  You endure, you graduate, you get an excellent job, and then one day you'll find that all these bullies who you thought were so powerful are now either in jail or washing dishes at IHOP.  If it's really bad and you want to talk, add a comment.  I will answer.

My Rating3 out of 5 stars.

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