It’s just another night of cruising through Netflix’s selection of horror movies. I finally make a choice and click on something called The Tortured – a movie I’m certain I won’t even finish. After all, it stars John Tucker from John Tucker Must Die and the crazy chick from Swimfan. Not that they’re bad actors – they just never appealed to me on a personal level. This movie does star The Devil’s Rejects own Bill Moseley, though, which is definitely a selling point in any horror flick. Let me start off by saying, not only did I finish this film, but I was legitimately shocked at the twist ending.
The Tortured centers around Craig Landry (Jesse Metcalfe) and his wife, Elise (Erika Christensen), as they deal with the abduction and death of their young son, Ben (Thomas Greenwood). After the killer, John Kozlowski (Moseley), is given the minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison, the grieving Landry’s, decide to take matters into their own hands. Being a doctor, Craig knows a thing or two about how to keep a person alive. He and Elise decide to inflict the same torturous punishment on Kozlowski that he inflicted on Ben.
Directed by Robert Lieberman and written by Marek Posival, The Tortured presents an ominous yet real tone about the horrors of child abduction. This feat is more impressive due to the fact that this is the first full-length feature for both Lieberman and Posival. Moseley is haunting as Kozlowski, especially when he’s yelling at Ben. You never see the boy’s face, since you’re mostly watching the scene from Ben’s point of view. It doesn’t last long and it isn’t gory but it’s effective. Christensen’s acting also surprises me. It’s not Oscar worthy, but it was much better than I had anticipated. Metcalfe isn’t too bad as the grieving father, but he’s not on his counterpart’s level.
The Tortured, as one would expect, does have some torture scenes in it. The film itself isn’t a gore fest, but the abuse scenes are a bit unnerving. While the torture to the victim is physical, it has more of a psychological effect on me. Only one scene, in particular, is pretty graphic; the rest aren’t too bad. I feel that the torture could’ve been executed a little more thoroughly, but maybe I’m just a glutton for the gory stuff.
Where The Tortured really shines is in the twist ending. Without giving anything away, this twist is set up during the scene in which the Landry’s have stolen the transport vehicle Kozlowski is in. The scene easily reminded me of the first Saw film, with the flashbacks to how this entire twist came to be. That’s no surprise, of course – the film is from the same production company. It is definitely a jaw-dropping twist, but it doesn’t touch Saw.
The Tortured is certainly a horror film that any fan should check out at least once. Two reasons: the twist ending and Bill freaking Moseley. I don’t think I’d watch it again, but I enjoyed it and I recommend it to anyone else looking for a decent torture/revenge flick. Good luck guessing the twist, because I sure didn’t see it coming.