Domestic horror.


The Tortured is about a young couple who experience a major trauma in that their son is kidnapped and murdered. The film has an interesting premise, as the couple plan to kidnap the killer and exact their own form of justice. We have another revenge flick, and while the genre might be a little tired there isn’t anything inherently wrong with it (I guess). This film seems to have little intention of adding anything new, and once again that is not necessarily a problem.

The high point of the film is the character of John (played excellently by Bill Moseley). Moseley is almost always fantastic, and he does an exceptional job here. All of the performances are at least competent. In a rare case, I actually cannot complain too much about the acting.

However, I certainly can complain about the storytelling and directing. The film chooses to rush through the kidnapping, murder, and aftermath quite quickly only to have it unpacked through flashbacks. The film would have worked a lot better (and we would have known the characters better) if it was shot in chronological order. There is no reason to disrupt the flow of time other than to cover how genre the film is.

The directing works for most of the film, but other times it is simply distracting. Obnoxious cuts, zooms, and angles remind the viewer constantly that they are watching a movie. The most intense moments of the film are hurt by this need to stylize each scene. A more distant view would have increased the pathos of each scene greatly.

Some aspects of the narrative become more preposterous as the story develops. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the couples’ plan to kidnap the killer is a bit far fetched. Further, I am not certain they wanted to make us feel sympathy for a child murderer, but the framing of the film makes this hard to ignore.

Gorehounds will likely be a bit let down by how surprisingly not graphic the torture scenes are. I mean, in comparison to other films this one is actually pretty tame. I hate to say it, but at many points the film verges into boring more than intense. The parents come off as sanctimonious at many points more than justified. The twist of the film is predictable, but is at least interesting.

The film is okay. I mean there isn’t anything special here, but it doesn’t suck either. Fans of the genre will probably enjoy it. People interesting in horror with a slight moral edge might enjoy it, too. 6/10.

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