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Tormented (2009)

DVD Cover (IFC Films)
Director:
Jon Wright Jon Wright
Starring:
Alex Pettyfer Alex Pettyfer
April Pearson April Pearson
Dimitri Leonidas Dimitri Leonidas
Calvin A. Dean Calvin A. Dean
Tuppence Middleton Tuppence Middleton

5.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Horror Comedy, Supernatural Horror, Teen Horror
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: August 31, 2010
For some kids high school can be a living hell. Evidently, in England, high school is a living hell for anyone who doesn't have long golden locks or immaculate breasts. "Tormented" is a horror film straight from the Land O'Pasties about a group of high school kids picked off by an ex-classmate of theirs who committed suicide after years and years of bullying at the hands of these little princes. The film, directed by Jon Wright, is an odd and entertaining little film that reminded me of "Shaun of the Dead" with a little "Bully" thrown in for extra measure. The film stars Alex Pettyfer who will soon be seen in the film "Beastly", destined to make hordes of young girls lose their virginity to celluloid.

Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) is the bullied young man in question. The film opens at his funeral. He has finally taken his own life after years of abuse at the hands of a group of kids at the high school. These kids give new meaning to the word 'sadistic' and are led by Bradley (Alex Pettyfer), who really has no reason to bully these kids except he really likes it. Bradley's friend, Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas), has started dating the Head Girl, Justine (Tuppence Middleton), who was the object of Mullet's affection before he left the living. Justine is an adjusted and compassionate girl and doesn't understand how anyone could bully another student, though she begins dating one of Mullet's bullies. What no one counts on is Mullet returning from the dead to (a) seek vengeance on those who led him to his grave and (b) protect the girl he always loved. When the two cannot reconcile themselves, Mullet goes loco.

This is your typical "Don't mess with a kid because they'll come back as a zombie and take you down" scenario with that trademark British wit and sense of humor. The performances here are rather strong and help elevate this over other generic teen slasher films. The one thing the Brits know how to do is cast and then always seem to be a step above us in that department. Their horror films are consistently stronger than ours because their actors are consistently stronger. Tuppence Middleton is especially engaging as Justine and she really manages to bring some depth and humanity to that character. Alex Pettyfer, as Bradley, is every bit the bastard he needs to be and you feel zero sympathy for that character. He might not be the best actor, but he looks gorgeous and plays jerk really well. Dimitri Leonidas is also strong in his role as the bully turned bullied.

What I didn't understand about this film was all the incidental characters that kept popping up. Was there any reason to focus on the burgeoning relationship between the art teacher and the school handy man? Far too much screen time was given to two characters who have nothing to do with the plot. More time could have been spent on kills or character development. The principal keeps popping up with material, as do random high school students, like the boy who gets a crash course in rock music from our zombie outcast. These characters add nothing to the overall story and really got on my nerves because I wanted to see more of the core group of kids and Mullet. If I had one piece of advice to the director it would be - "less is more" most of the time.

As far as kills are concerned, "Tormented" does a decent job with some of them. I won't lie - I was a little disappointed at Bradley's death scenes. He is built up to be the major tormentor and his death scenes happens quickly and isn't really that awe-inspiring. In line with that, the film loses some steam towards the end. It kind of whimpers out. I don't think the director really knew exactly what kind of film he wanted this to be. It's perfectly acceptable to mix genres but "Tormented" is like an A.D.D. version of a better film that could have been. But, the film is light and humorous and engaging enough to make me recommend it. Just bear in mind, despite what you might think, there are no actual 'mullets' in this film. That, my friends, left me more 'tormented' than anything else. 7/10.
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