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RELEASED: 2009, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 87 mins
DIRECTOR: Jon Wright
PRODUCERS: Cavan Ash, Tracy Brimm, Kate Myers & Arvind Ethan David
SCREENPLAY: Stephen Prentice
MUSIC: Paul Hartnoll
Tuppence Middleton as Justine Fielding
Olly Alexander as Jason Banks
Calvin Dean as Darren Mullet
Dimitri Leonidas as Alex
Mary Nighy as Helena
Alex Pettyfer as Bradley
Larissa Wilson as Khalillah
April Pearson as Tasha
Georgia King as Sophie
Tom Hopper as Marcus
James Floyd as Nasser
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Tormented begins at the funeral of Darren Mullet, who was a socially awkward, overweight, asthmatic student bullied at school to the point where he took his own life. Head girl Justine Fielding reads a eulogy on behalf of the school - the students then return to their normal day to day life.
Justine starts to date Alex, one of the in-crowd of bullies, the pair suffering taunts from Bradley and his gang.
Meanwhile, the ghost of Darren Mullet presents himself as a force of revenge, bumping off every student who had made his life a misery.
Tormented is glaringly obvious that it was made on a low budget, and I'd guess is intended to appeal to people much younger than myself. I make this judgment due to the school setting, the odious teenage pupils and the musical score which quite frankly, I found painfully loathsome. It could be said that I'm getting old, therefore am not supposed to be impressed by a racket of this nature, but only half of that is true...the first half. OK I am getting old, but it also has to be said that I like good music - and this wasn't it.
I guess Tormented is supposed to be a comedy/horror, and I suppose there are a couple of vaguely smile-inducing moments (very vaguely!) contained therein, but for the most part I found the film quite juvenile and vulgar.
The acting from all concerned is barely acceptable, with - if you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose one - my favourite being Alex Pettyfer, as the stuck-up, posh, highly odious gangleader Bradley. Perhaps it's unfair of me to single him out as being specifically odious, because all of the students come across that way, including butter wouldn't melt in her mouth head girl Justine Bradley.
There is an attempt at special effects in Tormented, but they are clumsily constructed and the film would have been altogether better off without them.
Tormented is a very predictable film as although in different settings, it's all been done before, and better, plus I managed to work out what the twist at the end would be during the first minute or so!
One of Tormented's advantageous points is that it isn't boring, it being quite watchable for the most part in a tacky way....but although I realise it isn't supposed to be taken seriously, I just wanted to slowly torture this gang of vile bullies, plus their teachers. As far as the teaching staff at the school is concerned, they fell into three groups - those who were totally unaware of the nasty, nasty bullying rampant in the school, those who knew it was happening but chose to paper over the cracks and those who were bullies themselves....just as bad as their charges.
The character development in Tormented is sketchy, bitty and uncoordinated, with the young people - bullying temperament aside - coming across as empty, insignificant and quite frankly, truly pathetic; but, was that intentional? Is the viewer supposed to perceive these teenage oiks as totally disposable at best and unforgivably vile at worst? I suppose there is a small possibility that could be so, but on the other hand I don't feel the overall handling of the film to be intelligent enough to create such thought-provoking grey areas.
I hated every one of these teenagers with a vengeance that is hard to spew forth without resorting to typing a string of foul-mouthed abuse, and for the most part, I didn't find their antics particularly funny. For the sake of the film everything had to be presented as way over the top, but as I guess it has been made to appeal to young people (due to the 15 rating, the school setting and the bullying aspect), many viewers around that age may not have sufficient maturity to detach themselves from the essence of the storyline and understand that it is a send-up. Due to its supernatural quality, the karma element in Tormented isn't in the slightest bit convincing.
Tormented comes across to me as an effort by the direction/production team to be quirky and thus perhaps appeal to the youth element, but it misses the spot big time mainly due to it being clumsily made, unconvincing (although if the bullying in our schools really is that serious, then it needs to be dealt with and toot-sweet, as these kids' generation will be looking after me if and when I have to pack my bags and move into a rest-home in my dotage!) and rather a wash-out....it isn't even particularly funny....just bitty, predictable and grossly sensationalist, even though I did find it moderately entertaining.
I personally think this film should be re-graded and given an 18 certificate. It contains a lot of swearing and much violence, although that violence isn't intended to be taken seriously - as said above, some young people around the 15 age group may not get the joke, interpreting the characters' negative behavioural aspects as inspirational rather than loathsome. Even though the bullies do receive their just desserts, I feel that towards a young audience, the wrong message is being put across and from the wrong angle.
Perhaps I have blinked and missed the purpose of this film? All in all, I found it to be rather a shoddily produced, mostly poorly acted, predictable load of rubbish....but, it is quite entertaining. I'd describe it as Grange Hill on ketamine!
At the time of writing, Tormented can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.39 to £16.63
Used: from £1.07 to £13.99
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Film Only review:
Brad and his cronies are the not so popular but ever so good looking group of the school. At first we meet them we just think that they are drinkers, play with drugs and generally catty however we soon learn that Darren Mullet killed himself after claiming to have been badly bullied by them, are they bothered?....well no not really they even refer to him dead as Shrek.
Justin though is a nice enough girl with rather dull friends and is a head girl of the school and rather looked up and plays by the rules however she becomes involved with one of the group, Alex and develops feelings for him and therefore has more to do do with the group and becomes accepted by then.
In the meantime Darren's mate partly blames Justine for Darren's death and hands her his suicide note in which he claims to have loved her and she allowed bullying to happen in front of her nose and never even noticed and hated the fact she was becoming like them. However at first Justine doesn't even know who he even was.
One by one murders start to happen at the posh school in the most horrific and graphic ways. Blood spurts and the body count is rising but who is doing it? I mean Darren Mullet is dead right?
This British film I really did enjoy. The story flowed, it had its funny moments and really went into the story revealing more to us about the gang as we went along and how Justine starts to see things differently and starts to remember Darren. The music score was good, there were moments of humour and it even delivered a couple of moments that made me jump and I had to turn my head from the screen.
This is a really, really good movie to which at the end of it my mate said it was fab and awarded it 5 stars without hesitation, me I gave it 4 because I did guess the ending really.
A very good watch this one and for a 15 rated film it is rather explicit with its sex scenes and more gory than alot of 18 rated films I have watched lately!
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
Tormented is an excellent British Horror flick which I really cant speak highly enough off. This film packed with a cast-of-unknowns, obviously working with a small ish budget and practically unnoticed at the cinema is actually one of the finest British horror flicks of recent years!
The premise of the film is quite simple and has been done before in the genre. Someone commits suicide and comes back to eliminate the causes of his slide into despair. This scenario places a bullied secondary school student in the role who after taking his own life seeks revenge on those that made his school life hell. The film starts with his funeral and in the first sections it becomes clear there was a group who bullied this poor kid but the joke is on them.
I wont say too much about the plot as it has a few twists and turns with a fantastic ending but safe to say it's a solid horror plot and gore fans will lap it up. The plot is good with interesting characters all with a mini plot of their own through the film. Unlike in some horror films the characters aren't left to simply be devices in the gore but are given their own slice of screen time.
Indeed it's the gore that provides the main jumping moments in the movie, the deaths are all gruesome and there is plenty of red and moments not for the squeamish, even after seeing a lot of horror films certain parts of this still made me winch.
The film is well shot, well acted and well made and ticks all the horror boxes and more. Theres sex, blood, more blood, love and more blood. It's a credit to all involved and a sadly overlooked British film that deserves far more attention than it currently gets!
Excellent and worth seeing
Also on Ciao
Bradley and his group of followers spend their school days bullying those not cool enough to hang out with them, their main target being the overweight and geeky Darren Mullet. When Darren finally commits suicide due to the amount of bullying he was receiving, the bullies feel no guilt or remorse and simply turn their attention to their next victim. But then Darren comes back from the dead to take revenge on those who hurt him. Darren was always in love with the quiet and shy Justine but when she gets caught up in the affections of Bradley's friend, Alexis, she makes herself one of Darren's targets.
~ Cast ~
Justine - Tuppence Middleton
Bradley - Alex Pettyfer
Alexis - Dimitri Leonidas
Tasha - April Pearson
Marcus - Tom Hopper
Sophie - Georgia King
Kally - Larissa Wilson
Darren Mullet - Calvin Dean
I hadn't heard too much about this film but I like a good scary movie so was looking forward to seeing this. However, once we were comfortably seated in our seats in the cinema about to begin watching the film my mum informs me that this film is meant to be very gory. Now I hate gore. I don't mind a bit of blood but any gore I can't stand which is why I've refused to watch a single one of the Saw movies. So after finding out I was about to be in for a gore-filled couple of hours, I grudgingly sat back in my seat and prepared to cover my eyes.
The outcome, although I don't think it was as gory from what I've heard about the Saw films, was that it did have quite a bit of gore including the severing of certain body parts and certain sharp objects going in body places which I thoroughly dislike watching. However, I knew when these gory moments were about to happen as there's not much suspense in the film so I managed to cover my eyes in time to miss them and only opened them once the rest of the cinema had stopped groaning in disgust.
There were a fair few comical moments throughout the film which did add to the enjoyability factor of it. These included text messages and signs being sent from the supposed dead boy with smiley faces announcing from someone's phone that they were going to kill you and plenty more rude messages and pictures perfectly apt from the mouths of teenagers. The comedy factor did make me unsure though whether the film was meant to be a purely horror genre or whether the intention was to cause laughter along with the horror. If the comedy factor happened by mistake then it just proves that, along with many other film genres, the UK are poor at creating another type of film. However, I now see from IMDb that that one of the genres is actually comedy, in which case I think that the film has done a very good job as without these regular laughs I think it would have flopped. The mixture of comedy and horror did actually work very well but most of the comedy was fairly crude and typical of teenagers today.
Being a low budget British film the acting wasn't superb. Most of the cast are not known and have only had fleeting roles in small British soaps or series. Dimitri Leonidas gave a half decent performance however the film only really worked because of one of the main roles which was given by Alex Pettyfer the star of the film Stormbreaker. He played the bullying teenager to perfection and left you with no doubt in your mind that he was a complete jerk. He was the only one who could really act that well and he carried the film entirely by himself.
The main criticism that I have about the film was that I think it went a bit too far in regards to bullying. I understand that bullying does obviously happen in schools but, even though I've never witnessed it myself, I really don't think it happens to the extent which they showed in Tormented. The main group of friends, with Bradley as the ringleader, bullied Darren constantly but they did most of their bullying in front of a number of other people. In one incident this actually happened in front of almost their entire year with one of the girls simply punching him in the face for no reason whatsoever and every single other person was egging her on to punch him. I mean, does that really happen? A whole school year wanting this poor boy to get beaten up when he's done nothing wrong? I really don't think that it would be that extreme but the film did give a feeling of the effects that bullying can have on both the victim and the bullies who end up getting their comeuppance.
Although a bit cheesy and predictable, the film actually worked. As I said, the acting wasn't brilliant but I could overlook this due to the presence of Alex Pettyfer and the fact that the film was intended to be a silly one anyway. Mixing the comedy in with the horror gave it gave it a much better feel and it didn't end up with the audience laughing at something which was supposed to be scary as I find myself doing with plenty of American horrors. The inclusion of humour and horror worked well to provide an enjoyable, albeit a bit of a gory film.
Running time: 91 minutes
Certificate rating: 15
Director: Jon Wright