The Tortured, a movie directed by Robert Lieberman.
Tortured? I was.
Ordinarily, I would not waste time writing about a film with no theatrical release that I had discovered on Netflix, but I felt this one was so bad that it warranted it. Because, even after two days, I cannot stop thinking about how absolutely sick this movie made me. So, should you look for a horror or thriller movie during a Netflix binge, please, I beg you, for the sake of the world and all who inhabit it, DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. Spoilers ahead.
The film opens on John Tucker Must Die his wife, some woman lucky enough to be plucked from Hallmark films, and the child they recently lost in an abduction. I give it this, in the first half hour, I was wondering what about the movie had brought it down to 2 stars out of 5. The scenes with the kidnapper, especially when he was in the process of taking the child from under his father’s nose, were very well done. I felt a serious sense of foreboding and just altogether badness that I can’t really define.
It would not be a spoiler if I told you the child was tortured and murdered, because it is written in the synopsis on the Netflix page. Disappointing. It was pretty much the only suspenseful part of the film. However, as the movie dragged on into the actual, short-lived torture sessions and half-hearted moral arguments between husband and wife, I could see why it would lose three stars. Both leads couldn’t seem to decide when they were on board with the punishment of the man who killed their son.
But this is not what had me reeling with displeasure. In an attempt at a Shyamalan twist, the makers lead us to the unsatisfying end with barely enough build up to be taken seriously, but it still lacks sense. A car alarm goes off when there seems to be no one around. Their victim insists that a car accident, caused by John Tucker Must Die when they hijacked the van carrying the child killer to prison, has caused a head injury that has left him without memory of killing their child. Mrs. John Tucker Must Die insists that she would like to continue the torture, though ten minutes earlier she said she couldn’t go through with it. One of them must always be completely against it while the other insists on continuing at a time.
To assuage her husband, she tests their captive by demanding to know the name of their child as she crushes his foot. On pain of death, he yells their son’s name: Benjamin.
Their captive later manages to escape and write a suicide note apologizing for their son’s murder before hanging himself in the barn. He said that he must have been a monster to have done what they told him he had done to their son, though he really didn’t remember.
How did he know the kid’s name?
But this is where you get raped in the face. I sincerely hope you brought the lube, because I didn’t.
It turns out, the police caught the child killer. The man they had taken to torture was a tax evader they had taken from the same crashed van. His injured face had left him unrecognizable.
I cannot express to you what I felt watching this movie. It seems as though the writer was going for an ending that would blow our minds, but, instead, it comes out as a draft that was supposed to end a different way that he happened to tack a twist onto at the last minute. Proceed with caution. I still can’t look at a window without debating throwing myself from the second story.
Two stars too many.