Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tormented (2009)

Wooly Bully

Mainstream American cinema; take notes. This is how you craft a high school based horror/comedy. Keep it fun, keep it real, and keep it violent as all fuck. Nobody wants to see these shitty PG-13 horror films, because with the exception of a few, most of them suck and have the worst target audience in existence. If you want to attract both longtime horror fans and kids in their late teens, watch the UK's Tormented and bask in its unique and gory formula that attracts even cynical film-buff assholes like myself. If you can make me actually enjoy a film about people eleven years my junior, your work is already halfway done. Throw in some guts and sex appeal and you've got me hook, line, and sinker.

After bullied high school student Darren Mullet commits suicide, nobody really seems to care. His tormentors go on as if nothing had happened and even find a way to coax intelligent nice-girl Justine (Tuppence Middleton), with whom Darren was in love with, into joining their clique and ditching her nerdy friends in the process. Things seem to be going great for Justine as she has a group of popular friends and a new crush, but things start to turn sour as the teens begin receiving texts from Darren's phone, each more vulgar than the next. Soon, students begin dying off one-by-one, while others claim they have seen Darren lurking about, believing he's come back from the dead to punish those who bullied him. With Justine caught in the middle of the bloodshed, she uncovers the truth about her new friends and how they inevitably caused Darren's suicide. The only problem is, will it be too late for her to escape the same fate as the others with her newfound status as one of the in-crowd?

jesus christ... <3 <3 <3
Tormented is a horror film that works on many levels. It has a great cast, with every actor pulling his or her weight in their role, no matter how large or small. Tuppence Middleton is insanely gorgeous, with a smile that blows my mind, convincing me that I will probably suffer the same heartache as Darren with his unspoken love for her. The rest of the cast consists of extremely attractive men and women, but unlike many high school based horror films, they can actually act. You may not want every character to live, as most in the film are terrible people, but you'll certainly respect them for their talent.

What also sets Tormented apart from the usual shlock is its great use of humor throughout the film. Some laughs come in the form of gore, others in the subtle exaggerations of the student body, like the oblivious mohawked Nasser, a goth kid whose punishment isn't as severe as the rest of the cast, but still painfully results in a few good laughs throughout the film. Another example is Darren's appearance at times. During one scene in which he attacks a girl in the school's swimming pool, Darren is seen cannonballing into the water, also revealing that he's wearing swimming goggles. It's also worthy to note that even as a member of the undead, he still has to use his asthma inhaler. How many ghost-zombies do you see doing that these days?

The film's true highlight (aside from every shot of Middleton) is its effective use of gore. Nearly every death involves something over-the-top and never fails to hold back on the arterial spray. Some of the deaths are almost so terrible, you want to laugh and cringe at the same time. I'd give you more detail, but I'll just let some of the screencaps speak for themselves.

Finally, this movie works because of its subject matter: bullying. No matter how old you are, nobody likes a bully, and being given the chance to see them viciously punished is always a rewarding experience. While I don't condone real-life violence, horror movies are a great catharsis for those who need a bit more understanding than others. Thankfully, Tormented doesn't take itself too seriously and it's a bit easier to have a laugh at the situation than feel bad about it. But hey, you never know, bullies. Everyone has a bit of Darren in them. I would highly recommend that you don't tempt fate, because if horror has taught us anything, it's that the assholes always get it in the end.

3.5/5 Stars

And here are some additional screencaps for your enjoyment. Don't say I never did anything for you guys!
'the fuck's up with that chick's jaw when she laughs? ^^
holy fuck.

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