The Tortured (2010)


Once the film industry finds something that works, they will flog that horse until there’s no more flesh left on the carcass, and the latest draw that gets horror fans handing over their currency is Torture Porn in all of it’s blood soaked glory. With the success of the Saw franchise (a tad ridiculous, but watch able at least), Hostel, and the glorious but controversial Hard Candy, there’s been a flurry of films eager to imitate and falling short spectacularly – Train, The Collector, and the woeful remake of The Last House on the Left, all have tried desperately to grab themselves a piece of the Sadist Pie, but to no avail. The more shocking they attempt to be, the more pedestrian they seem to become – seen one severed limb, you’ve seen ‘em all.

Cynical? Jaded? Moi? Oh yes indeedy.

The Tortured have been doing the rounds on the internet rumour mill for a while, loved and hated equally by critics and fans, it’s turning into the celluloid equivilent of Marmite – you either love it and want it on your toast every day, or just the mention of it sends you running to a bathroom to vomit the memory of it’s flavour away. Interesting.

Me? I’m kinda on the fence.

A young, attractive, professional couple have the perfect life until one day their six year old son is kidnapped in broad daylight and murdered by a man who has a Norman Bates thing going on, and a mass grave in the back yard.
At his trial he strikes a bargain with the prosecutors and gets 25 years in return for telling the police where all of the remains are. The couple, as you can imagine are livid, and hatch a plan to break their sons killer out of jail and torture him. As you do.
There’s also a ‘twist’ ending that had nothing twisty or remotely shocking about it, and to me gave the whole thing a preachy tone. Ew.

So the torture scenes were pretty awesome, as I’ve come to expect from the good folk at Twisted Pictures, realistic, unflinching, and I’ve got to say there was some damn good acting going on (and considering one of the leads was Jesse Metcalf of Desperate Housewife fame, I was surprised to say the least), but I had a real problem with the story line.

Yeah it was hackneyed, but you’re hard pushed to find a script that isn’t these days, and yet it was the subject matter that left me wrinkling my nose like I’d smelled something bad for most of the film. I get the feeling that the movie would appeal to those militant Daily Mail/ The Sun generation readers that would like to see any sort of child abuse punished with hardcore vigilantism rather than have the criminal justice system deal with it. Those people scare me far more than the criminals these days fo sho, and I like my torture porn to not make me get all politically correct and moral minded – the news does that for me just fine. To be fair to The Tortured, it does try and have a weak ‘ Hey man, vigilantism is wrong though, let the law do it’s job’ moral towards the end, but it’s irritating, and judging by some of the fan reviews I’ve read, has done nothing but stoke the scary fire for lovers of a witch hunt everywhere.

I’d say good for a one time watch, if at all, but you could watch I Spit On Your Grave and be safe in the knowledge that your time had been well spent.

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