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Tormented


Rod Lott August 20th, 2010

 

I'm completed puzzled over the online raves for the British slasher "Tormented." It's been called "funny" and "awesome" by those who caught it in the UK last year; I found it anything but on both counts.

Here's the gist: At a fancy-schmancy prep school, a fat, asthmatic kid with the unfortunate name of Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) is bullied relentlessly by classmates who call him Shrek and play keep-away with his inhaler, eventually driving him to suicide. After his funeral, they receive threatening, crude, animated messages on their cell phones, presumably from the deceased. They think it's a prank until their precious little clique gets narrower by the day.

Countless horror films have shared such a premise, some executing it well. The key is to make the killer's victims sympathetic, especially if they're the focus. Here, they're so self-absorbed, smug and spoiled, director Jon Wright can't dispatch them fast enough for the viewer. That makes for an unpleasant hour and a half, especially when his tone veers uneasily from gore to comedy, lacking confidence in each. He tries to make up for it with "cool" quick cuts and a hip soundtrack, but all his tricks can't create an illusion. At least the reason behind the messages is kinda nifty, but only kinda. —”Rod Lott

 
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