Directed by Robert Lieberman, The Tortured follows Craig (Jesse Metcalfe) and Elisa Landry (Erika Christensen), a happily married couple whose lives are destroyed due to their son being kidnapped and brutally murdered. When the murderer manages to avoid life in prison through a plea bargain, the Landry’s decide that a minimum of 10 years isn’t enough for this disgusting asshole. While the prisoner is being transported, the two hijack the van and bring the killer to an abandoned home where they set up a torture shop in the basement. Over the next few days unexpected things happen as the couple continues to torture the man and begin to question themselves in the process.
As most horror fans will agree, we are very open to films that take chances, but when they fail we are also easily able to point out how ridiculous the film can be and rip it to shreds. Horror fans brace yourself, because The Tortured falls into the latter category.
From the first few minutes of the film you could tell you were in for a very B rated experience so my cynical guard dropped considerably. The movie had cheesy dialogue, bad acting, a mother who didn’t seem to shed tears when crying over her dead boy and the rest of the B rated horror works.
At only 81 minutes, the film moves rather briskly making sure you understand how tortured the parents are and how their relationship has been affected from the loss of their son. But eventually we transition from what seems like a thriller to a sadistic torture flick and watch some gory content as the parents exact slow revenge on their son’s killer.
SPOILER The movie does have a twist that I initially thought was good, but after thinking about it for a few minutes I realized how stupid it was and how it ruined everything I had just watched. At the end you find out that the guy they are torturing is the wrong prisoner, there were two in the van that they hijacked but when it crashed they only saw one. They also noticed only one inmate getting into the van when they were spying on the prison (seriously). Now either my view on revenge is skewed or these might be the dumbest horror characters ever. When someone kills your son and you’ve seen his face close-up that’s imprinted in your mind, especially if you want to kill the son of a bitch. So tell me, how the hell do you miss two prisoners coming out of a prison or, more importantly, how do you not realize you have the wrong guy when you’re staring him straight in the eye? That’s like a nerd forgetting the face of a bully that gave him hell for seven years in school, wtf Lieberman. END FRUSTRATING SPOILER
Though it deserves to be continually bashed, I give the film a little credit because it did a good job showing how tortured the parents were after knowing that their child had been found and killed. The two go back and forth blaming each other even thought they know it’s neither of their faults. Though I wasn’t a fan of the happy flashbacks with their child cut into moments of reflection, it made sense but was overused.
Overall, The Tortured is a sub-par horror film that doesn’t offer up anything new to the genre and manages to kill all its credibility in the final 10 minutes. It’s got characters you don’t care about, annoying editing, a bad script and an ending that will make you want to punch a puppy (and no one ever wants to punch puppy).
Rating: It delivers on its name but not much else (3.5/10)
The Tortured will be available on VOD on May 11th and will hit NY theaters on June 15th thanks to IFC.