“Inoffensive enough to ingratiate itself with its celluloid brethren.”
Newlyweds Cory (Dunne) and stepmother Sarah (Isabelle) take their son Liam (DaCunha) to their second home in the country for some much needed family bonding time. Liam is still struggling to come to terms with the loss of his mother and resents Sarah taking her place.
Pretty quickly, it becomes apparent that the family are being hunted in their own home by a group of psychopaths wearing the oversized heads of Liam’s stuffed animals. Kidnapping Liam and then torturing Cory and Sarah, the group’s true intentions become clear, in that they are trying to build their own, albeit dysfunctional, family. It is up to Cory and Sarah to escape their captors and rescue Liam from his apparent forced destiny.
Watching Torment immediately brings up comparisons of films such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Devil’s Rejects as well as a trough of other similar home invasion films that have been a constant source of studio releases in the horror genre over the past few years. However, Torment does not keep the action restricted to one house and ups the ante very early on with the disposal of a character who may otherwise have saved the day, making the viewer understand that the animal head family are playing for keeps.
As always, Isabelle is great to watch, proving that her performance in American Mary was no fluke. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the running time. It’s as if the writers and director knew that most of the tricks in home invasion films have already been used, and so rather than rehash them with a diminishing return, they keep the film lean, to the point and refreshingly sparse.
The main villains are never really explained, but this does make their unknown reasoning and intentions more disturbing. There’s nothing out of this world on offer here, but Torment is inoffensive enough to ingratiate itself with its celluloid brethren. The sequel potential does offer a carrot on a stick for those who would really like to delve into the back-story – we’ll just have to see if the studio is prepared to back it.
Director: Jordan Barker
Starring: Robin Dunne, Katharine Isabelle, Peter DaCunah, Stephen McHattie
Release date: 26 January 2015
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