The perfect marriage of Craig and Elise Landry is suddenly shattered when their young son is abducted and murdered. When the killer is brought to trial, he manages to plea bargain his way to a lighter sentence. Utterly outraged by this miscarriage of justice, the grieving parents decide to take matters into their own hands. They capture the murderer, imprison him and subject him to the same monstrous acts he perpetrated upon their defenseless child. The unforeseen consequences, however, challenge their ideas of vengeance, justice and the true nature of evil.
In THE TORTURED, Craig and Elise Landry have their ideal life turned upside down, when their only child, Benjamin is abducted and killed by the psychotic, John Kozlowski. To make matters worse, the system seemingly fails them when Kozlowski is sentenced to only 25 years in prison for his heinous crime. Unhappy with this verdict, and fearing that Kozlowski could one day get out, only to do they same to someone else, the couple, collectively resort to extreme measures. Via a s carefully planned hijacking the couple are able to kidnap Kozlowski after a dangerous crash. Finally face to face with their son's killer, the Landys escape with him to an abandoned cottage nearby, and it is their that they force upon Kozlowski the same brand of torture that so many of his victims have had to previously endure.
Of course, in this new release by Twisted Pictures, the makers of SAW, the story is never that simple. As the married couple, Elise and Craig Landry, taste the thrill of torture at the expense of their son's killer, things slowly start to get out of hand, and soon, enough they lose their focus at hand. The story at the center of THE TORTURED, is surely one that goes through any victim's mind, especially those whom have a child, or children taken from them. The film plays out the scenario of what could happen in such a situation, as the Landrys. so distraught, ache for revenge on the suspect, when they feel that the judge appointed sentence isn't enough. It;s a good story, and prior to going into this, I knew it had the potential to be a good film, if done right.
On that front, I felt that the film got to a pretty good start, as it's first half is more rooted in drama than the actual Horror that Twisted Pictures is usually known for. During this time, a good amount of it is spent in the development of the Craig and Elise characters, we get a real sense of their struggle with coping. However, in my opinion, I felt that for as much time spent on the couple and their heartbreak, that there was not enough time spent in making Kozlowski the "monster that he was supposed to be. We do see a hint of this in a brief scene in which Kozlowski is supposedly talking to Benjamin, before he subsequently kills him. In this scene, Actor Bill Moseley, who portrays Kozlowski, once again shows genius, the guy is great at portraying this stuff - but to me it just wasn't enough. This is unfortunate,because for a brief moment, you get the sense that you are about to see the Landry's take down a monster, but no, as we later find the criminal at their mercy. And of course, a lot of this particular part of the story ties into a twist ending, which is another thing Twisted Pictures is known for, their often surprising twist endings. Of course, explaining the ending in question would further aid me in the writing of this review, but then again, explaining it in detail would then be giving to much of the plot away. All that I can say for those who will see THE TORTURED, is to look out for it, ans expect it. As for my opinion on how things end up in the film, honestly, I thought that the twist in question was horrible, in fact, it's ridiculous, and pretty much ruins the film itself(for me, anyway. The ending is far fetched and unbelievable, and it is unlikely ever to happen in real life. Now, ok, the ending of DEAD SILENCE was far fetched as well, but at least that film seemed to have a level of fantasy to it. For THE TORTURED however, seriousness is played high, and such an ending can't be taken seriously. You get the sense that the script is trying to be clever at the moment of the big reveal, but sadly it fails, and does so in a big way.
From what i've read about THE TORTURED, it has supposedly been completed since about 2009, and is just now seeing the light of day. Prior to seeing the film, I couldn't imagine what could have been the hold up, but now, after seeing it, I think that I might know. On paper, the story sounds great, but when it came to the execution of the story, this film is very lackluster, and should have been better. The look of the film, is great, however, the feel and tone is very generic. It seems as if, at first the script was concerned about story, however, once, we get to the torture aspect of the film, all of the heart and depth is drained from the film. Of course, a good does of genuine suspense could have evened things out, however, Suspense in THE TORTURED runs thin. An as for the acting by the film's principals, Metcalfe and Cgristensen serve as a passable grieving married couple that's out for revenge, but neither elevate the story to a gripping level.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
As I said, THE TORTURED could have been better had the script been a little more balanced. I felt that once the film began to feature the torture, the rest of the story got lost in it, and then that is what it's all about. Sure, the torture in a film aptly titled THE TORTURED is sure to play a big part, but not so much that there is little else to say about the story as a whole. While THE TORTURED isn't awful, not only does it suffer from this, but it features a conclusion that basically kills just about every once of momentum the film manages to build. Is it worth seeing once? Yes, but don't expect anything special from it.
This film is available on VOD, XBOX, iTunes, Sony Playstation, Amazon,
and Sundance Now through May 11, 2012, and hits limited theaters on June 15, 2012