Friday, October 10, 2014


So I really, really hate the term "torture porn". Just so we're clear. Just to remind you: that genre of horror was borne of a new millennium where war was exploding all around us, and if we weren't on board with half the country over annihilating anyone who could be perceived as a threat to us, then we were regarded as clueless traitors. So rebellion came: in the form of a new uncomfortable horror film: a retaliation against the PG-13 crap of yore in which the act of torture itsself was revealed, examined, zoomed in upon, and shown in its awful glory as a mirror of what we had become in our quest for both vengeance and pre-emptive strikes. Trouble is, these films were hardly ever scary. At least Saw, even if it is a dollar-store Se7en, tried to put some urgency into its death-traps and freaked us out with a cloaked pigmask guy running out of the shadows.

Which brings me to The Tortured. Bill Moseley is sentenced to 25 years to life for kidnapping and killing a six-year old boy- but that's not enough; the boy's parents think, so they seek him out to kidnap and torture him. That's it. That's all of it. Well, not all of it. Both Mom and Dad trade the Conflicted Ball back and forth over what they're doing, and the best moments lie in the beginning. Dad was rummaging through a junk drawer hunting for sunscreen for the kid when he was abducted from the backyard, and when he angrily dumps its contents during Mom's accusations of incompetence, she confesses that she can't help but to blame him- unfair as it is. That was thought-provoking. And there's a twist ending- there has to be- to which I will only say this: if the Dad is such a great doctor that he can prolong the torture with chemicals, how can he not know the proper procedure for discovering if someone does or does not have amnesia? 2/5 ratings of 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is three times the Tomatometer rating of Left Behind with Nicholas Cage.

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