August 6, 2018

Movie Review: The Tortured (2010)

While looking for movies featuring Bill Moseley, I stumbled across The Tortured on Netflix. I read the description and must admit to being intrigued, if not exactly wowed. I decided to give it a shot, being less than 90 minutes, it wasn’t exactly going to be a complete time suck. So hit play an settled in. The first thing to great me was the familiar Twisted Pictures logo, that I have ingrained in my mind as the start of a Saw movie (like Village Roadshow with The Matrix and the Fox fanfare with Star Wars). In any case, this movie doesn’t really need this much of a preamble, if you couldn’t guess from the title, this is your standard torture porn feature.

Rob Lieberman is the man behind the camera, primarily a TV director, he has had a couple of notable features such as D3: The Mighty Ducks and Fire in the Sky, but for the most part he has had a lengthy career on the small screen. With The Tortured, he got a small theatrical run, but then it went quickly to video. Lieberman directed from a screenplay by Marek Posival, his first feature screenplay. Posival, like Lieberman, has spent the vast majority of his career working on the small screen, albeit as a producer.

Erika Christensen and Jesse Metcalf star as a couple forced to deal with the abduction and brutal murder of their six-year old son. The murderer is a psychopath named Kosloski, played by, you guessed it, Bill Moseley. This kidnap, murder, and the subsequent capture and trial aall happens rather quickly. It felt like they were in a rush to get through the compulsory plot stuff to get their story set up. To be honest, I understood what they were getting to, but even then this all moved too fast. There was scarcely any time to get to know the couple or their son, also, I wanted to spend more time with Moseley, the little bit we get was nice and crazy (if reminiscent of Buffalo Bill).

The bulk of the story has the couple upset over the sentence their son’s killer gets and decide that they have to go vigilante and take justice into their own hands. They hatch a rather hastily and somewhat ill conceived plot to kidnap Kosloski from the police transport. Once they have him in their possession, they head out to a remote cabin where they proceed to mete out their own version of justice. You know, they chain him up and torture him.

That is really all the movie has going on. They try to give some moral questioning for our tortured parents, but it just feels like lip service, so as not to make them appear completely cold and vindictive. The problem is that the movie banks on the torture sequences and the turnabout in the conclusion, it nevers gives the audience anything to really care about. I never felt anything for the couple, Metcalf, in particular, did not come across as genuine. On the flipside, Moseley could have crafted us a nasty little villain, but, again, not given enough time.

Then there is the case of the conclusion. I am not going to give it away, but it is pretty big and casts a pall over the entire film. I am not against this sort of happenstance, but I am a little upset by who knows, who doesn’t and how that leaves everything as the credits begin to roll.

The Tortured is not a terribly good movie. I found it watchable for the most part, but there is so little substance there is no point to even try to be invested in it. Plus, that ending managed to push me away a little more. I understand what they were trying to do, what the title references, it just wasn't successful, it was simultaneously heavy handed and shallow. The concept is not original, but there is always potential for exploring human nature and emotions, this is just not one of those that manages to do it.

Not Recommended.

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