Newest Review: ... point where Elise and Craig identify their child's body, it all becomes rather crazy. As the film progresses, a pretty good storyline em... more
The Tortured (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
The Tortured (DVD)
Date: 13/02/13, updated on 13/02/13 (58 review reads)
Advantages: Potentially good story/plot
Disadvantages: Bad acting, repetitiveness, scenes shot in darkness, poor camera work, music too loud, dull script....
RELEASED: 2010, Cert. 18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 80 mins
DIRECTOR: Robert Lieberman
PRODUCERS: Mark Bung, Oren Koules, Carl Mazzocone & Marek Posival
SCREENPLAY: Marek Posival
MUSIC: Jeff Rona
Erika Chistansen as Elise
Jesse Metcalfe as Craig
FILM ONLY REVIEW
When Elise's and Craig's son is kidnapped and murdered by a child-torturing serial killer, they hatch a plan of cold-blooded revenge.
After the killer's trial, Elise and Craig manage to divert a police van which is transporting the killer to jail, and kidnap the prisoner, subjecting him to the same kind of torture that he put their child through.
However, things don't turn out exactly as they planned!
The beginning of The Tortured shows an obviously very disturbed man in a basement, with a child screaming in another room. The man appears to be reliving parts of his own childhood, punctuating the lullaby he is playing on the record player and his verbal reminiscences, with shouting at the child to keep quiet.
The scene then shifts to Elise and Craig being informed by the police that their six-year-old son, Benjamin, has been found dead in a basement. From the point where Elise and Craig identify their child's body, it all becomes rather crazy.
As the film progresses, a pretty good storyline emerges, but the way it is handled by the whole movie-making team turns it into a ridiculous and repetitive debacle which is only just barely watchable. A lot of the scenes I found quite difficult to concentrate on, partly because the camera work is appalling, sometimes veering away from focusing on the central visual point of what was happening, and sometimes being moved around unnecessarily and unsteadily. This for me came across as so irritating, that it almost stopped me from continuing to watch. However, I forced myself to try and ignore that particular problem, but another arose in that the bulk of the film is shot in 95% darkness. I could just about see what was happening, but concluded that if this was a real event, those participating would have needed more light in order to see what they were doing.
The acting in The Tortured really does leave a lot to be desired, and the characterisation is very uneven in the sense that the likelihood of somebody changing their mind about something to the degree that they do, is highly unlikely. That is a big flaw in the otherwise rather good storyline, but such could easily have been tweaked a bit in order for it to make sense.
The music to The Tortured isn't dissimilar to that used in some Mike Leigh films, but it doesn't suit this one. Also, it is far too loud (orchestral in nature), at times almost drowning out what is an already badly flawed script.
This film needs a huge shake-up, and if somebody competent were, in say five years time tempted to do a re-make, I honestly wouldn't blame them....it is remakes of what is already perfect that annoys me, not attempts to improve upon cinematic disasters such as The Tortured as it currently stands.
There is a twist in The Tortured, but I saw it coming very early on. This twist could have been put across so very much better, because the way it is portrayed in this film is rather absurd...I want to say why, but I can't as it would then count as a definite spoiler.
Although I sat through the whole of The Tortured, at various points I did feel as though my own senses were undergoing some sort of divine retribution, simply because of its awfulness. I must repeat though, that overall the storyline is a very good one....just that it is totally ruined by poor acting, mis-casting, poor direction and production, overly loud music, some scenes being too dark and a lousy script.
If somebody like Hitchock, were he still alive and kicking, had got hold of this story, I'm certain that its potential would have been drawn out, quite likely then turning into a gripping, edge of your seat horror/thriller....but, it didn't happen that way and the result is a damp squib.
In summary, everybody needs to go back to the drawing board and seriously regurgitate The Tortured, in order to turn it into what it is capable of being...a masterful, spine-chilling psychological thriller...but, it just didn't happen, at least not this time around. Perhaps I'm being overly generous with my award of two stars, but those are given for the story itself, no more.
At the time of writing, The Tortured can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.20 to £19.35
Used: from £1.28 to £7.40
Collectible: Two copies currently available @ £2.80 and £5.99
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: One for the charity shop