Directed by Robert Lieberman, The Tortured can be firmly classified as “torture porn” it is certainly not pretty and it does pass into the realms of pornography as they’ve been set up by “experts.”
It is surprising. Jesse Metcalfe who played the lovelorn cuckolding gardener in Desperate Housewives, the teenage satyr in John Tucker Must Die, is very suited to light comedy and it was a treat to see him in a role that required more of him than to just be good looking. Erika Christensen, I remember from the 2002 “teen Basic Instinct” film Swimfan. She played a transfer student with an unhealthy obsessional trait.
Bill Moseley‘s name immediately made this a horror film and one that could be expected to contain buckets of gore. His character in both the Rob Zombie films as Otis Firefly, the elder brother of Baby, the violent sociopathic killer have pretty much stamped him, in my mind at any rate, as gory horror actor.
The plot is pretty simple. It is an “eye for eye” affair. Elise (Christensen) and Craig (Metcalfe) Landry have their six year-old son Benjamin snatched from their yard by John Kozlowski (Moseley). Kozlowski is a serial child killer who kills their son. He is, somewhat amazingly caught, but only after he has horribly murdered their son.
At his trial, instead of getting life with no chance for parol, he gets 25 years to life, which means he could actually get out on parole in 10 years. The Landry’s are beyond furious. They decide that they are going to practise their own brand of justice. They kidnap the prisoner on his way to another prison and take him to a cabin in the woods.
This cabin is not a Whedonesque type affair, it is just an old broken down property.
With a basement.
I will not go into the particulars of the rest of the film but the clue is in the title, The Tortured. And it does what is says on the label. I wasn’t surprised, but I was disturbed at the coldness of the camera lens. It dispassionately gets us up close and personal with the grizzly details and it makes for uncomfortable viewing.
The only redeeming factor in the film, is the ending. This is torture porn with a message. A pretty good one too. But I cannot divulge it without giving away a huge plot twist.
I will tell you this, as a horror film aficionado, I did’t see it coming. The twist I had in mind, did not exist.
So good job by Marek Poseval who wrote the thing and to Lieberman who directed it.
Unless you are strong of stomach, I am as a rule, I watched it while eating my tea (dinner in the US). But even I could feel my gag reflex attempting to cut in a couple of times.
For plot twist alone, I’d give this a 3 out of 5 stars. I knew it was going to be a horror film, as I said, Bill Moseley, of whom I am a huge fan, almost guaranteed it. It was just a bit too much torture porn for my tastes, despite its message.
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