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After a married couple's (Erika Christensen and Jesse Metcalfe) son is kidnapped from their family home and brutally murdered, the pair are devastated to find out that their son’s killer's prison sentence could mean that he’s let out in just ten years.

 Tortured, The
Taking the law into their own hands, the couple abduct their son's killer on the way to prison and decide to roll out some justice of their own.

The Tortured attempts to delve into the age old question of “What would you do to the person who killed your child?”, I say attempts, because The Tortured is so woefully tepid in its approach, with some horrid central performances, that honestly by the time they actually got around to kidnapping the killer I couldn’t have cared less about this distraught couple.

Told in a CSI-esq manner (with glossy flashbacks, quirky slow mos and paint by numbers style), The Tortured is about as heavy handed as they come. Through the terrible performances of Erika Christensen and Jesse Metcalfe we are told exactly what to feel and when to feel it and the dialogue, telling us exactly what’s on in the couples minds every step of the way, is clunky enough to trip over on the way to the kitchen to get some more comfort food to relieve the boredom.

 Tortured, The
Admittedly the story gets a bit more gruesome when they capture the killer, but the torturous acts are depicted with such a made for TV sensibility (even though it's still quite graphic) my mind couldn’t help but wander off thinking just how good this movie could have been with a grittier approach and two leads who could act. I should be wanting to look away because they are burning the killer for the umpteenth time instead of wanting to turn away because Metcalfe (whose character is a doctor) keeps running through exactly what this gruesome procedure will entail and how they are keeping their victim conscious. That’s without Christensen’s forced angry attitude and “I want him dead” bravado.

Unfortunately The Tortured has an ace up its sleeve. The twist is a solid one, even if it's underused and despite the movie's drab, paint-by-numbers approach to the revenge genre, I’m pretty sure any audience it does manage to gather will applaud the final reveal. But when these people approach you, don’t let them convince you the entire movie is good because of it. It’s really not and in a world where revenge movies are a dime a dozen you won’t have to go too far to find a much better one.

 Tortured, The


Despite the transfer’s murky approach, it has to be said that the image is a pretty grain free affair and when the handful of scenes pop up that use a nice bit of sunlight everything can look beautifully sharp and detailed.

For the majority of the movie the visuals stick to a single colour, usually greys or browns, to give that colourless effect to life after this couple’s son was killed. Director Robert Lieberman is never afraid to let shadows take over the frame and if it wasn’t for the fact the movie looked like a CSI-type show this really could have created a dark, menacing mood, instead it comes across as a rather safe feeling basement of torture (if that’s at all possible).

Close-ups reveal some of the finer details and the bright white of Jesse Metcalfe’s teeth pop off of the screen against the dark backgrounds. Despite The Tortured’s movie status, the slight softness to the glossy visuals makes it look about as good as a high end TV show. The transfer is a good one but with no real visual flair to the movie it doesn’t look too far removed from the majority of cops/crime solving shows from American TV. That's not a bad thing but it does taken away from the grittiness of the movie's subject somewhat.

 Tortured, The


While the score is a key weapon in the movie's telling us how to feel arsenal and can get a little tiresome here and there, it has to be said that technically it’s a pretty capable track. The use of foreboding bass sneaking in is very effective and builds a noticeable presence at times. The multi-layered effects are very clever too, with some scenes seemingly playing one central piece of music in the front speakers while a lesser piece is creeping around the rear speakers giving a sense that there might be music being played in a neighbour’s garden.

Dialogue remains in the fronts for the majority of the time but flits around the rears in the flashback scenes or when the characters remember their son and the sound effects for the various torture scenes all sit snugly in the fronts and sound almost realistic at times.

 Tortured, The


The ‘Cast & Crew Interviews’ last a whopping one minute and thirty four seconds, and the ‘Behind the Scenes’ (10:34 HD) doesn’t outstay its welcome either, offering up small nuggets from cast and crew and plenty from director Robert Lieberman.

 Tortured, The


The Tortured wasn’t for me and I knew it pretty fast. The two leads are shockingly mis-cast and don’t ever feel like parents, let alone killers, and Erika Christensen can take home 2010's bad acting award if she likes.

The story is okay if you can deal with the constant feeling that it could have been done far better elsewhere and despite the pretty transfer and effective audio track, I found this one to be a pretty hard slog to get through. Shame it's because of the badness of the movie and not the torture scenes.

* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.