The Tortured Torture Porn With a Message

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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.

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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.

But…

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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The Echo (2008): Grudge-like Terror

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I’ve just fallen in love. Not with someone, but something; the film The Echo. Amazingly it is a re-make (not, if you’ve read many of my posts or seen my YouTube channel something I am too fond of) of a Filipino film titled Sigaw (second side note – which I am currently desperately searching for) which translates as Scream or Shout.

Directed by Yam Laranas and starring Jesse Bradford, Amelia WarnerKevin Durand , and Carlos Leon The Echo lives up to it’s billing on the cover. It boast’s that the film has been made by the producers of The Grudge and The Ring. The influence of both films is very evident in this spine tingling (yes, I know cliche time but damn it fits) and scary movie.

Ex-con Bobby (Bradford) has been released from prison, he was in for involuntary man-slaughter, and is on parole. He moves into his dead mother’s apartment and gets a job working for Hector Rodriguez (Leon) as a mechanic. He hunts down his ex-girlfriend Alyssa (Warner) and they attempt to restart their earlier romance.

Meanwhile, Bobby’s neighbour, a cop (Durand) is noisy and appears to be beating his wife and daughter. And there are some strange things going on in his dead mother’s flat, not to mention some really odd noises.

This is a cracking film very much in the land of The Grudge and The Ring. It was well paced and the reveal/twist was genuinely surprising and satisfying.

"From the producers who brought you..."
“From the producers who brought you…”

The performances were spot on and I was pleased to see Bradford again as the last thing I’ve seen him in was the 2002 film Swimfan.  His wounded countenance and perplexed disposition went a long way to convincing me that his character was someone who’d always toed the line until the manslaughter incident.

Warner was brilliant as his ex-girlfriend who initially does not want to start over with Bobby and then changes her mind.

I also loved Durand in this film. The first thing I ever saw him in was the 2007 film Wildhogs and he was incredibly funny as the half-witted biker thug. In this film, he is evil, tragic, and scary.

Durand. Did I also mention creepy?
Durand. Did I also mention creepy?

This film delivered the scares in spades and almost creeped me out so much that I wanted to leave the lights on when I went to bed. Not to mention that every little (or not so little) noise had me jumping and jerking like I had an electric lead attached to my body.

SPOILER TERRITORY IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM, DO NOT READ THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH!

The ending of the film was also brilliant. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive (along with the police) we know that Bobby is screwed. Despite the fact that he has managed to save (we hope) his girlfriend, he’s broken his parole so it’s back into the “Big House” for him. Somewhat of a downer after the brilliant twist just before in the film.

OKAY, SPOILER ALERT OVER, READ ON…

loved this film and because of that, I’m giving it a full 5 star rating. It took the lessons learned from The  Grudge and The Ring and it did not blatantly copy either film. There was no “jerky” movements from anyone and no, “A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h,” noises either.

So, have you seen this film? What did you think about it? How about the original Filipino film? And on that note, if anyone has any idea where to find this film (the original) please, for the love of God, let me know?

The Echo 2004 aka Sigaw, anyone know of a subtitled copy, anyone??
The Echo 2004 aka Sigaw, anyone know of a subtitled copy, anyone??