Written by Marek Posival
Directed by Robert Lieberman
Elise Landry...Erika Christensen
Craig Landry...Jesse Metcalf
John Kozlowski...Billl Mosley
Elise and Craig Landry are the loving parents of a six-year-old boy. On one horrible day, Craig, a doctor, takes his eyes off of his son for just a moment; but it only takes a moment for lunatic John Kozlowski to swoop in and kidnap him. Craig gives pursuit, but it is no use.
Flash forward a bit, and a telephone tip has brought Kozlowski to police attention. The body of their son is found, as well as the bodies of numerous others. He is brought to trial, but when Kozlowski is given a reduced sentence in exchange for the location of more victims remains, Elise and Craig decide that simply isn't good enough.
Deciding to pull an Otis, they arrange to kidnap Kozlowski from police custody. Taking him to a remote cabin, they proceed to torture him in unimaginable ways, using Craig's medical knowhow to keep him alive, and keep his conscious for the entirety.
True enough, this is another entry in the perhaps-waning Torture Porn genre, so if you are decidedly against these types of films, don't even bother giving this one a watch. It's not going to change your mind. However, if you enjoyed Hostel and Saw on at least a primal level, The Tortured might be right up your alley. The torture scenes are well produced and incredibly hard to watch, and seeing Kozlowski in action--dressed in drag, wearing a tiara, and screaming in falsetto while a lullaby plays scratchily on a record player--is admittedly over-the-top, but incredibly disturbing.
It's not all gore and grue here, though. There are solid performances all around, and painfully haunting moments of loss. You feel for the parents, and can almost get behind their actions...even if you can barely stand to watch.
The Tortured is produced by Twisted Pictures, who brought us the aforementioned Saw franchise. And, taking a note from the Saw playbook, there is a Grand Revelation set to that familar Saw-type music, that brings everything full circle and puts everything you thought you knew about the movie on end. Or, at least, that's the idea.
I'm not going to give any more spoilers here, but this twist has confused some viewers and annoyed others. I was somewhere in the middle, honestly, or maybe a little of both. It made sense...kind of. And yet it was still a little difficult to swallow. And it hurt a bit going down.
The Tortured is currently available on VOD and from digital distributors, and will be in select theaters on June 15th. Special thanks to IFC for supplying me with the screener.
"Killing him is not punishment enough."