Monday 25 May 2009

Review: Tormented

Year: 2009
Director: Jon Wright
Screenplay: Stephen Prentice
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Larissa Wilson, Tom Hopper

I should watch more TV but I don't. I get bored of TV shows quite easily and the glut of American serials have left me exasperated. There's only so many bad days Jack Bauer can have, you know? But there are a few things I like watching and Skins is one of them. Yes it's exaggerated, but the energy placed within the show wither it's the writing or the performance is clearly visible. Compere that to the deary cop shows (except The Wire of course) and the never ending questions/red herrings of certain other shows and I'll take my OTT Teen show thanks. Cheesy yes but pretentious? Not at all.

This brings me to Tormented which as already been labeled a "skins slasher". I had my reservations of course mostly as it's very lazy hyperbole. It has a couple of actors from Skins in it and it's a horror film. A very easy conclusion for a writer who merely can't be arsed to write about some horror film (maybe).

However in watching Tormented you actually realize that although Skins has "opened a door" for this British slasher, a lot of the movies cues are "like er... totally American". Yes the film is about a bullied teen who comes back to live to reap havoc, however the film borrows so much from Halloween you could constitute it as theft.

This didn't bother me however as the film has more than enough character of it's own. It's themes of bullying, social isolation (both by peers and technology) and that bastard that is puberty are placed right into the forefront. It's nothing you haven't seen before but it's well done. In fact the fact that Tormented puts so much effort into these elements places it leap years in front the remakes and reboots that Hollywood drudges up. However, Tormented suffers from one's not scary.

The film doesn't reach the dizzying horror heights of genre classics such as Evil Dead or Scream because none of the films set pieces are particularly frightening. They're funny in a Final Destination sort of way but your not going to get nightmares from it. In fact the films bullying scenes are much more terrifying but while they're extremely OTT, there's a eerie aura of truth that lingers around those moments.

From the first kill I was disappointed because the film didn't sent any shivers down my spine. However the films humor kept me going. The dialogue was snappy while the set pieces was full of extreme gore that no one could take seriously. The film also has a streak of cynicism that's been missing from so many horror films lately, that it took me by surprise. Trust us Brits to put the some bitterness back into horror. I was also happy that the film also had a plot, which another thing that's missing from alot of modern horror.

The youthful cast are effective for the most part, April Pearson and Alex Pettyfer play their parts with the right amount of misanthropy while the lead Tuppence Middleton is very likable. Tom Hopper makes sure his performance is more than just gruff muscle (he has the funniest death sequence). Unfortunately Larissa Wilson (Skin's Jal) doesn't have much to do, while the films "nice guy" (can't remember the guys name) comes off a little too awkward.

Tormented hits the mark because due to it's biting comments and comical set pieces. If some of our friends across the border took notice of this then they'd be producing horror movies that I'd remember and actually buy on DVD. Tormented has the right amount of nastiness and laughs that I can see myself watching it on my Xbox before going out on the razz. Well played.