A movie I had to see at this years Frighfest was The Tortured; a movie that puts the viewer in the hot seat and asks them what they would do. Elise and Craig (Erika Christensen and Jesse Metcalfe respectively) are living an idyllic life with there young son Ben, that is until the day that Craig goes looking for sunscreen for their son. While searching through drawers, Ben is kidnapped by an incredibly dangerous man. After days of abuse the man murders Ben; who is captured and tried for his crimes. For Elise in particular the sentence does not warrant the crime and she begins to look at what she can do to ensure that suitable revenge is had for her son’s death. In a moment of well planned strategy killer Kozlowski (Bill Moseley) finds himself under the couple custody, who decide that he must go through the same torture, abuse, and finally death that their son went through.
Having been one of the movies I most wanted to see, The Tortured was one of the movies I was most disappointed with from this year’s festival. It’s very similar to the style of the Saw movies (and shares the same producers), right down to the rather restructured recap of events that happened from the start of the movie, allowing you to see events with slightly different eyes.
It’s a labored piece of work, which while it seems there is always something going on, is fairly dragged out. Elise and Craig go through stages of playing good cop bad cop to Kozlowski, as one minute they want more suffering the next less. You kind of wish that they would just get on with it, as this toying is just frustrating for the viewer. Never at any point does the tension build up to a suitable level; it all just plods along slowly.
The effects are fairly good, with bones being broken and some rather blunt impromptu surgery.
While the end of movie twist is quite good, you can’t help but realize you saw it coming a mile off (if of course you watch a lot of similar movies). But in honesty that’s where the praise ends. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just not a good one; the moral dilemma is clear, but you’re given nothing new. You do not at any point think that you are seeing something different to any other movie, its all very much a case of been there done that, now please move on.