After catching a movie, a woman (Julia Ormond, TV's Mad Men) and her young son (Evan Bird, TV's The Killing) take a cab to get home, but the cabbie isn't really a cabbie. He's Bob (Vincent D'Onofrio, Full Metal Jacket), a lisping serial killer of "whores."
Bob offs the mom, but keeps the kid as a slave, serving as maid, chef and his own personal clipping service. For no real reason, he redubs the kid "Rabbit" and has him study Gray's Anatomy — the medical text, kids, not the TV show.
For the first act, Chained is absorbing and tense, unfolding with a this-could-happen-and-probably-has touch that's more terrifying than any horror film. And then Lynch jumps ahead a few years to let Rabbit pass puberty, where he then is played by Eamon Farren (X: Night of Vengeance) and groomed to be Bob's partner. When that shift happens, my attention waned. No offense to Farren, who's fine, but I wished it had stuck with Bird, whose sheer youth makes the character far more vulnerable, thus increasing the stakes.
"You are so fucking predictable!" Bob shouts to little Rabbit when the kid attempts an early escape, and sad to say, the same goes for the story in that slower, less-interesting back half. From start to finish, however, Lynch does not compromise in her direction, nor shy away from depicting depravity. Think she picked that up from her father? —Rod Lott
Hey! Read This:
• Full Metal Jacket: 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Book Blu-ray review
• The Killing: The Complete First Season Blu-ray review
• Mad Men: Season Four Blu-ray review
• X: Night of Vengeance DVD review