This supernatural-ghost-slasher-whodunit-flick hails from the UK. And it taught me something. High school kids in the UK are f*cking mean. Like really mean. Like kicking a puppy after it just got neutered while watching its mother get run over by a car mean.
Tormented spins the tale of the popular crowd, the hot girl who gains entrance into the popular crowd, her scorned friends, and the kid who killed himself only to come back as a ghost to exact revenge on the teens. His pet name? Shrek. Because he is big, ugly, and green. Okay, he’s not green.
Tormented seems pretty basic and for the most part it is. What makes this film shine is the ruthlessness of the kids. I can think of no teen movie where the kids were this insincere. Case in point: After the “She’s All That” girl finally gives up her V-card to the boy she loves, the “Mega-Bitch” tells her that she already did him and he gave her crabs (not to mention she started a rumor that the guy was bragging about “hitting it” all throughout the school even though he wasn’t). These bitches are playing for keeps, ya’ll.
And that doesn’t even begin to explain the bullying the group bestowed upon the fat, and now dead, kid. Lucky for the audience, the dead kid gets his revenge and it’s gruesome and at times pretty funny. Particularly impressive (and creative) is a kill that involves a ditzy girl and the famous Edvard Munch painting, “The Scream”. One of the other highlights involves the bullied kid sitting on a slut underwater. It’s cheeky, sure, but it’s fun and makes the movie a joy to watch.
The acting is well done from the ensemble. The kids walked a fine line between caricatures and what could be taken as real people, but did so admirably. There is a sense of realism in how they behave, talk, and manipulate each other. And while there are a few genuinely creepy moments the true terror comes from vicious manner in which the teens behave. It’s quite easy to root for them all to die in horrible ways.
Most slashers, at least since Scream, tend to be self-aware – too self-aware in most cases. Tormented, while funny, manages to be serious enough to provide unnerving moments between the giggles and resides right in the middle of the two extremes. But it’s not funny enough to be considered a Shaun of the Dead type film and not scary/gory enough to rank up there with the best of slashers. The film might have been a smashing success had focused heavily on one other the other – the potential was there. Imagine Hatchet-like kills with Brit humor. But it still works well and should please most horror fans.
Bullying is a dangerous business these days, and Tormented highlights that fact. If you bully (anyone) they will probably come back from the dead and kill you. But that’s not the only lesson the film teaches. Oh no. There are lessons about safe sex (it is a slasher film after all) and a highly painful look at the proper use of condoms. And believe me, it’s a lesson that all guys should pay attention to.
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