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Tortured, The 
Written by: on September 22nd, 2010

Theatrical Release Date:
USA 2010
Director: Robert Lieberman
Writer: Marek Posival
Cast: Erika Christensen, Jesse Metcalfe, Fulcio Cecere, Bill Moseley, Chelah Horsdal, Aaron Pearl, Jakob Davies, Viv Leacock.

DVD released: October 18th, 2010
Approximate running time: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: E1 Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99

Devastated by the kidnap and murder of their young son, Elise (Erika Christensen) and her husband Craig (Jesse Metcalfe) can at least take comfort in the fact that the psycho killer, Kozlowski (Bill Moseley) was caught red handed with the dead child in his house and a backyard pit full of decomposing bodies. The cops strike a deal with the killer; 25 to life if he helps them identify all his other victims. Elise and Craig however wanted the death penalty and feel that the criminal justice system has let them down so they embark on a plan to extract vengeance on the monster personally. They kidnap him and hold him hostage in the basement of a remote country house where they intend to inflict the same pain and torture upon him as he inflicted on their son…….

From the torture porn funhouse that is Twisted Pictures, the folks behind the Saw series (Darren Lynn Bousman is even thanked in the credits) this one is directed by Robert Lieberman, prolific helmer of various TV shows (Earthsea, Dexter, etc) and a few movies (Fire In The Sky, D3 Mighty Ducks, etc) and written by Czech scribe Marek Posival, who is primarily an assistant director, this is his first feature screenplay. The story is remarkably similar to the recently released French language Canadian flick 7 Days, based on a best-selling novel, ‘Les sept jours du talion’ (literally ‘seven days of retaliation’) no credit is given on screen to this material however it seems hard to believe that it wasn’t the inspiration for this production especially considering this is also a Canadian feature – and hey the first trailer that plays on startup of this disc is for 7 Days!

This is a competently filmed, slickly produced little thriller that totally fails to distinguish itself even amidst the glut of torture porn flooding the market at the moment. Cliches abound with camera trickery, a clumsy score and terrible dialog throughout. The acting is relatively good with Erika Christensen being the standout player as the grief-stricken mother desperate for revenge but she has to struggle with a woeful script and a spinning moral compass that leaves her character confused and unsympathetic. Halloween and 2001 Maniacs Bill Moseley’s brief performance as the killer pedophile is something of a cartoon villain, putting on his mother’s make-up and cackling like a nutter, it’s a shame there wasn’t more of him really because by the time the husband and wife torturing team strap their victim to the table it’s a glib wannabe morality play all the way to it’s ridiculous conclusion; an ending which I can only imagine will totally alienate the movie’s target audience. This is an exploitation flick and as such there really is no place for the sudden moralizing that seems to be shoehorned in far too late in the movie for us to really take it seriously. Gorehounds will get what they’re looking for here with multiple scenes of nasty looking poking, cutting, crushing and burning of the restrained villain but they’ll have to sit through a tedious amount of trite, generic guff to get there.

A stylishly shot forgettable mess of a horror/thriller with an ending that will leave you wanting your money back. For hardcore gorehounds that have already seen the better alternatives only!

The DVD:

1.85:1 anamorphic transfer looks excellent featuring a crisp, clear image with vivid colors and excellent contrast with solid blacks, etc. The 5.1 English audio track is also excellent with clean and clear dialog nicely balanced with the score and ambient soundtrack, similarly the stereo track is just as good if lacking the slight extra punch of the 5.1 track.

Extras include:

Revenge: The Making Of The Tortured – is a rather grandly named 90 second (yes that’s seconds!) featurette in which various cast and crew are asked how far they would go in a similar situation to that of the film’s protagonists. For the most part the interviewer is met with umms and ahhs….

Behind The Scenes
– a 10 minute featurette that shows the cast and crew at work. On set interviews with the director and a few of the main actors plus a look at the filming of a few of the stunts and make-up effects.

Trailers (that play on startup of the disc) for 7 Days, Harpoon Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre & Rec 2.

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