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Tormented (2009) - Film Review

Jon Wright tried to achieve the almost impossible balance of horror and comedy in his 2009 British film TORMENTED. The result is not scary, and not particularly funny, but there was something about TORMENTED that kept me from switching off.

Preppy head girl Justine (Tuppence Middleton) speaks at the funeral of Darren Mullet. She doesn’t remember Mullet of course; he was just the big fat kid who all the ‘cool’ kids thought it was fun to bully. For Mullet of course, it wasn’t fun at all and it ultimately led to his suicide.

Later that evening Justine dumps her usual nerdy friends to go and party with the ‘in’ crowd, and more specifically, Alex (Dimitri Leonidas). She is soon accepted by the cool kids and things between her and Alex heat up. Before the night is over a killjoy Mullet decides to come back from the grave and gatecrash.

The rest of the film sees Mullet reap his revenge on his hateful classmates in a whole host of weird and wonderful ways, and it was the inventive deaths that kept me watching.

The film is shot like a modern glossy U.S. Horror - it even has a pool party, really – a pool party, in England - outdoors! Because that happens all the time over here, honest! The glamorous cast also help to add to the American feel, but in spite of these Americanisms, the screenplay itself is very English. Whilst there is humour involved, it’s a bit hit and miss - only occasionally making me smile, and for the most part, actually irritating me a little.

I really was hoping this would be a 1980’s style stalk ‘n’ slash flick, but it just doesn’t have that edginess about it. The imaginative deaths certainly hark back to my favourite era, but the fact that they are mostly shot in daylight, in a sunny classroom, rather than having the madman creeping around in the shadows certainly means that the atmosphere of the film remains light and airy in spite of the increasing death toll.

Tormented does show the impact on the poor victims of constant bullying and harassment, showing the bullies to be the evil, thoughtless, bastards they are. However, it also goes some way to show, that children often bully, so they themselves will stay in with the ‘in’ crowd and not become victims themselves.

Of course a film of this genre would not be complete without some sex and nudity, and Tormented delivers a little of both. What was surprising was that the semi naked bods in Tormented are all male for a change, whilst the female cast get keep their modesty. Something that will, I’m sure will be disappointing to the spotty adolescent boys who watch this kind of film in the hope of seeing the usually obligatory bare-breasted females.

Tormented is worth watching to see the creative deaths, but given that you can see almost all of these in the trailer, it’s hardly worth it. However, the humour in this will no doubt appeal to many people, even though it isn’t to my taste. It certainly isn’t worth buying though, but a rental may be in order.

TORMENTED (2009). Director: Jon Wright. Writer: Cast: Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Dimitri Leonidas, Calvin Dean, Tuppence Middleton

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1 comment:

  1. Not a bad film, not a good film. The fact that I was seeing Chris Tate from Emmerdale popping up as the headmaster was a bit surreal too!! I agree with your review for the most part, I did find the direction quite inventive and the acting very good, the screenplay was well written too. My only grumble was the whole glossiness of the film, it was too bright and sunny to be sinister, which was a shame (and the fact that I hated all the kids meant that I didn't give a crap when they died!). To be honest, I was rooting for Mullet the whole time.