I don't want to suggest that Torment is an awful movie, but it comes close. It's not for a lack of trying, so to speak, but the overarching problem is that the movie is essentially a carbon copy of all the slasher/home invasion movies in the world and contributes very little of note. I suppose the killers' masks, taken from the heads of giant stuffed animals, is the extent of the film's originality.
Cory Morgan (Robin Dunne) and his new bride Sarah (Katharine Isabelle) arrive at Cory's summer home (secluded, of course), with Cory's son Liam (Peter DaCunha) in tow. The kid resents his stepmom a little, because she's not Mom. Mom's dead, in case you were wondering. Unfortunately, that fact has almost no bearing on the plot, which feels like a tremendous waste of opportunity. At any rate, when the Morgans arrive at the house they quickly learn that squatters have been there very recently - there's spoiled food left out and some blood on the wall. They call the cops, and good ol' Office Hawkings (Stephen McHattie) tells them that teenagers probably hung out there and had a party or something. Doesn't explain the blood too much, but the Morgans don't press him for more info. Just another kindly old officer of the law lending a homespun helping hand, is all.
During their first night in the house, Sarah awakes to a noise downstairs, which happens in most horror films anyway. When she and Cory investigate, they find nothing out of the ordinary - except that little Liam is now missing. And thus begins endless searching (for the boy) and fleeing (from the crazy cult who snatched him and is right next door) that comprises basically the balance of the movie. Run into forest, be pursued by masked lunatic, fire off every flare in your road flare gun so you can see where you're going, escape into your house, get attacked by another masked lunatic, run out of the house and into a muddy stream where you fend off the attacker, and so on.
Isabelle looks great and appears capable of being a damsel in distress. Dunne is a little more lackluster. Young DaCunha's performance felt more authentic than that of any of the adults. But what made this film particularly maddening were the little hints of backstory that are never really resolved. For example, when Cory does find Liam and confronts the kidnapping maniacs, it's strongly implied that he (Cory) knows who these people are, knows their history, knows why they've chosen poor Liam. Do we, the audience, get to discover this as well? We do not. And maybe it would have helped if we did, because a gentle, plausible twist would have been welcome over the generic, often listless storyline.
Torment is not so bad it's good. It's a mediocre entry in a field that's already very overloaded with mediocrity. There isn't even all that much blood, thereby depriving those who love a good gorefest from getting their money's worth. So, no gore, a thin plot, lousy acting, and and overwhelming sense of pointlessness all add up to a movie that's just not worth your time.
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