Review by Cassam Looch
SOUNDING very American in premise and style, Tormented is, in fact, a British take on the teen slasher movie which tries to blend comedy and horror. With a cast of attractive teens running scared from a remorseless asthmatic zombie, the gore is certainly present but the scares and laughs are somewhat lacking.
The popular crowd at this school are a pretty mean bunch. Led by Bradley (Alex Pettyfer) the group stalk the halls and corridors, pushing everyone around that they come across.
The muscle is provided ‘jock’ Marcus (Tom Hopper) and the glam by Tasha, Kalillah and Sophie… with the more reserved Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas) completing the troupe.
Things change when Alexis sets his sights on head-girl Justine (Tuppence Middleton), who wouldn’t normally hang around with anyone other than her own reserved friends.
At the funeral of shy loner Darren Mullet, rumours start to circulate that his death was not as accidental as was made out… and the victim soon wants revenge on all those that bullied him.
Some of the cast will be instantly recognisable from E4 series Skins, and this is no coincidence as the initial scenes of narcissistic and arrogant youths enjoying a party lifestyle could be lifted from any episode of that show.
Pettyfer goes against type and manages to pull off the role quite well despite some poorly written dialogue. But the real stars in the mean stakes are the ladies, with the terrible trio of by Tasha, Kalillah and Sophie complimented by newcomer Tuppence Middleton to give a terrifyingly familiar portrayal of characters everyone will have come across.
When Calvin Dean, as bullied schoolboy Darren, turns up it’s initially quite effecting, but soon the very idea becomes quite laughable.
The tone shifts wildly from light and comedic to violently gory and the result is a difficult watch which never convinces in either genre. Those irritated by the very idea of Skins: The Movie (like me) will not enjoy the first 30 minutes at all, and the film struggles to overcome this opening.
Middleton’s character, however, does engage throughout and you’ll begin to wonder why she is dragged into the melee with the obvious bullying tactics of the others. However, one of the films notable plus points is the way it covers all aspects of the persecution of the victim and for that it must be applauded.
All that said, this is by no means a ‘message’ movie and on the basis of its own set-up, it’s only an intermittent success. Some gleefully gory death scenes and great looking cast are worth watching, but you won’t be screaming too loudly or rolling in the aisles with laughter.
Running time: 91mins
UK DVD Release: September 28, 2009