Monday, April 18, 2016

Note To Self: Next Time, Just Rewatch Swimfan

Sometimes, running length is all it takes to sell a movie.

Now onto the 75 minute long (thankfully) The Tortured.

Quick Plot: Elise and Craig Landry are a successful suburban couple with a cute little six-year-old son named Benjamin. Before you can roll a credit, Benjamin is grabbed in broad daylight right out of his backyard by a twisted child killer.

Naturally, such an awful event does all but destroy Elise (Swimfan Forever Erika Christensen) and Craig (Passions Forever Jesse Metcalfe). Things don't improve when Benjamin's body turns up in the nightmare house of John Kozlowski (genre veteran Bill Moseley). Though Kozlowski is found guilty, the mere 25 year prison sentence does little to ease the Landrys' pain.

What follows is a typically miserable revenge plan that's fairly unpleasant for all involved. Elise decides prison is no payment for what John has done, convincing a reluctant Craig to help abduct the convicted man from police custody, bring him to an isolated cabin, and torture him for weeks until they feel satisfied. In typical no-that-perfectly-thought-out-characterization, Elise and Craig continuously flip flop positions in deciding they're doing the right or wrong thing.

It's as fun as it sounds, especially when we reach the kind of twist ending that does little but make its main protagonists look like even bigger idiots than we already thought they were.

Directed by Robert Fire In the Sky Lieberman, The Tortured is...well, exactly what you'd expect from a 75 minute movie about torture made by a decent filmmaker. The actors are fine, considering what little they're given to do. Like a lot of this subgenre, the entire film seems to be washed in a greenish blue filter that somehow makes the action even more remote and hard to care about. It's not dreadful by any means. Just...well, pretty blah.

High Points
Credit to a movie that understands there's no need to go on too long when you have rather little to give

Low Points
It's just so hard to accept a gut punch of an ending when there's so little justification for its main characters' mistakes

Lessons Learned
Drugging police officers is about as easy as untying one's shoes

Never store your sunscreen in a junk drawer

"Hush Little Baby" may have a nice lullabye tune, but when you actually listen to the lyrics (which show up at least twice), it's hard to not judge the singer as being a crappy parent whose master plan of raising her child is to spoil it rotten

Eh. The Tortured is a more professional production than a lot of the other torture-porn under the radar flicks you're likely to find on Instant Watch. That doesn't make it actually pleasant to watch in the least, so go on with it only if you just REALLY want another 75 minutes of watching two pretty people turn a body into something very ugly.


  1. Not the sort of thing I'd usually watch but your mention of 'nightmare house' caught me curious.
    It was all a bit annoying for me, doubly so that the 'twist' at the end was only realized by the viewers... not the characters themselves, though we can suppose they eventually found out. I wish the story had carried on that bit farther.

    1. You know, I don't even know if I realized that. Reminds of why I hated The Village so much. There's a huge reveal, but it ultimately doesn't affect a single character onscreen.