The Tortured Movie Review
Written by TGM
Released by IFC Films
Directed by Robert Lieberman
Written by Marek Posival
2010, 78 minutes, Rated R
Available on VOD, XBOX, iTunes, Sony Playstation, Amazon and Sundance May 11th, 2012
Theatrical release on June 15th, 2012
Erika Christensen as Elise Landry
Jesse Metcalfe as Craig Landry
Bill Lippincott as Galligan
Bill Moseley as John Kozlowski
Fulvio Cecere as Detective Berger
Thomas Greenwood as Ben Landry
Every parent’s worst nightmare is to have a child abducted, tortured, and murdered at the hands of a psychopath. It’s a wound that, for most, would never heal. Adding insult to injury, a cunning plea bargain that allows the murderer to be paroled in 10 years would likely push even a staunch pacifist to the brink and beyond.
The Tortured is the tale of the Landry family - Elise a comely real estate agent, and Jesse a burgeoning physician - whose six-year-old son is snatched from their backyard by a serial killer and subsequently murdered. No spoiler needed, as this all takes place within the first 10 minutes of the film. At first the Landry’s are willing to let the justice system run its course; however, when it becomes clear that the courts have failed them, their vengeful bloodlust begins.
The Landry’s manage to intercept the prisoner transport van and haul their captive to a secluded cabin with the intent of torturing the scumbag until he ultimately succumbs to death, hastening his express elevator ride to hell. Of course, being a doctor helps in keeping their prisoner conscious and lucid so that he might feel every ounce of pain inflicted without the benefit of the body’s natural response of passing out under such circumstances.
The gore level in The Tortured is not on par with the likes of the Saw, Hostel, or Final Destination franchises, but the violence certainly holds more weight and strikes home more than watching a bevy of gorgeous twenty-something’s getting offed in absurd ways. The acting is decent, in particular Erika Christensen as the devastated mother. The weak link is Jesse Metcalfe as the doctor/father. It’s not that his performance was particularly bad, I just didn’t buy him as having the mental capacity to make it through medical school that wasn’t based in the Caribbean.
It does get a bit trying watching the Landry’s battle their flip-flopping consciences throughout the course of The Tortured. When one feels regret and remorse for their actions, the other is seething with vengeance, then a few scenes later the roles get reversed, employing that annoying Three’s Company-esque standard of never being on the same page at the same time.
In all honesty, The Tortured is at times barely a notch above the level of typical Lifetime fare. What sets this movie apart from the depths of melodramatic overkill, however, is a fantastic twist of an ending that will make you feel like you’ve been sucker punched in the scrotum. Being a father as well as a medical professional, The Tortured fell squarely within my wheelhouse and worked on almost every level for me. I will, however, concede the fact that many might find it to be a formulaic exercise in softcore torture porn while blatantly pandering to the heartstrings of the viewer.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.