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THE TORTURED
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Reviewed by: Zombie Boy

Directed by: Robert Lieberman

Starring:
Erika Christensen
Jesse Metcalfe
Bill Moseley

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A couple go to drastic measures to exact vengeance on the man who kidnapped and murdered their small child.
Is it good movie?
Elsie and Craig Landry are a middle-class couple doing pretty well for themselves. Good careers, a nice house, and an adorable 6-year old boy damned Benjamin. All of that is shattered the day that John Kozlowski brazenly abducts Benjamin in broad daylight, right in front of Craig. By the time the police locate Kozlowski, poor Benjamin is quite deadÖand it doesnít look like he died quickly. Stricken by the light plea-bargain Kozlowski gets, the Landrys take matters into their own hands in a most gruesome fashion.

I was with this film initially. Being a parent, the whole abduction and murder thing hit very close to home for me. Itís a primal fear for any parent, and was portrayed ruthlessly but not exploitatively, and was quite effective. The slow dissolve of the Landrysí marriage was also heartbreaking. But as soon as they hatched a scheme to kidnap and torture their victimizer, things took a turn for the stupid. But even then, I thought it was reasonably well done for what it was, and was still willing to go with it.

The torture they perpetrate on the man is harrowing and difficult to watch, both from the point of view of the nature and mechanics of it, and the cognitive dissonance it creates in the viewerís brain: this man is a monster, and deserves no mercy, but the victims become the victimizers, and that is a tough riddle to solve. How much slack do they get for their grief, and at what point do they themselves become monsters?

Then comes the twist, which destroys the film utterly. Itís the worst sort of tacked-on, ridiculous trope, and even manages to be confusing as well. Just in case you still had any goodwill left for the film. Sense flies out the window, and what could have been a potent morality play descends into direct-to-video drivel. If the movie just outright sucked Iíd be less pissed off. Iíd still say to watch it, but gird yourself against the ending.
Video / Audio
Video: Screener

Audio: Screener
The Extras
Screener
Last Call
The Tortured begins strong, but ends as flaccid as Liberace at the Playboy mansion. It does raise some interesting moral questions, and has some well-done, harrowing torture scenes as well as some effective human drama, so itís not a total waste. But damned, its ending just kneecaps the whole damned film. Watch it, but be prepared to be let down.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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