14 July 2014

FROM NECROTIC CINEMA/TORMENTED/2009

This “slipped under the radar” British horror film by Jon Wright hit me in the hit places so well that I watched it twice in one week. Well, the first version I watched on a Chinese streaming site called PPTV had over 20 minutes of the film cut from it, including all the death scenes, and so I wanted to see what I may have missed, but that was not the only reason I rewatched it. The film is very well made on all fronts, including direction, editing, acting, and score. While not a perfect horror film in any sense, if there is really such a thing, the movie delivers all the goods using a pretty simple premise; bullied teenager returns from the dead to wreck havoc and revenge on his tormentors. It is never explained why he is able to return from the dead and there is no occult subplot (thank God) to muck up the storyline with. I have long felt too that British films in general deal with the whole social class issues better than their American counterparts, were the class struggle concerns are not as relevant or explored storylines. Seems a lot of films like this have come out in Britain since the late 50’s and the old b/w angry young man films of the 60’s are some of the best movies ever made. And there is some element of that class struggle in Tormented, though it is more amongst the members of some sort of elite prep school meaning most likely they all come from money. But here we have the more modern spin on things with the conflicts being between the upper preps and jocks, and the nerds and emos. But the film presents the conflict with elements of snooty British snobbery that you just do not find in American high school type dealing with the same themes. But to be clear, the movie is not really addressing any such issues on a deep level, anymore than it is addressing the problems with bullying. In fact that social issue things are not the reason I watch horror movies, not all. I watch horror movies for the tension and jolts, and to be quite frank, some blood and a bit of gore delivered in just the jut doses at just right time. And it is in that department that Tormented sits well with me. And as well as the horror and violence, it has some of that special dry British humor you either like or do not like, and which fortunately I like a lot when it is done right as it was in Shaun of the Dead. But Tormented is not meant as a spoof or parody of slasher or high school body count films, and while imbued with black humor and at times campiness the film over all takes itself pretty seriously. That can backfire on many horror films, but I do not think it does here despite a glitch or two every now and then.

Poor geeky fat kid Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) is so bullied by the school’s popular crowd, led by pretty boy Bradley (Alex Pettyfer) that he is ultimately driven to commit suicide. He secretly holds a love for head girl Justin (played just right by Tuppence Middleton in her first role) and it is the last straw when she appears turns against him along with the gang of evil preppies. A party is help after Darrel’s funeral and Justine develops a quick romance with slightly nicer preppie dick head Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas) and soon Justine herself in with the popular crowd herself. There is basically one death and one deafening of an emo during the first half of the film, but the deaths start piling up quickly in the film’s second half, and they are a batch of grisly demises to say the least. The relationship between Justine and Alexis is actually handled rather well, and the role of asinine, spoiled Bradley is played to the hilt by Pettyfer. We do not see much of ghost/killer Darren or what happened with him and the bullies until later in the film, and as is often case you find yourself rooting for the bullied kid and hoping he gets all the bastards even if you have learned to like one or two of them. Does he get them all or not? I think you can check it out and find out for your self. It does have a twist of an ending, but not a ridiculous one that seems tacked on later in the editing room, the way many such slasher films end off these days. I saw another British bullying/suicide film recently as well called Truth or Dare and I want to review that one soon, maybe next, as there are some comparisons I want to make between this film and that one, and why I think this one worked better in the end, though truth or Dare verged on the edge of becoming a great horror/revenge movie. In closing I will say that I have not seen Tuppence Middleton (wow, I love that name) in anything else but and trying to find something. She was great in this one and was simply lovely to behold. The films listed for her on IMDB do not look at that great in a way and she certainly seems like a good actress able to do more than slasher material. I can recommend this film. If you are fan of slasher films with a bit of gore you will like it I think, and if you are not I doubt it will do much for you, but if you’re not why the hell are you reading this friggin’ blog in the first place?!

Note: At the end of this post and some others in the future you will see a banner link to my other blog Necrotic Cinema. Why am I doing that? A couple reasons. This site gets much more traffic than that one and I want to promote my modern horror movie reviews as well. Also, I just see no reason not to spice up this site too with somethings a little different now and then. Both sites need more maintenance and support and this is one way to do that. There was some thought about stopping the other site and merging the material here but I decided to keep it and do things this way for now. I am pandering and promoting my own material too so it is only a so so slimy thing to do. I hope one day my other site can get half the traffic each day this one does. Please support Necrotic Cinema with all the love and hugs you guys and gals have shown this site. 

This was originally posted at Necrotic Cinema
  http://necroticcinema.blogspot.com



 
 
 

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