May 28, 2009

Support the British film industry! Go and watch British movies! That is my decree, and I’m not a hypocrite, so I went to see Tormented. If you’ve seen Skins then you’ll know what to expect in terms of the characters you’ll encounter. Tormented is set in a comprehensive school somewhere in middle England, featuring a cast of thoroughly abhorrent men-children and sexed-up girls who would be cheerleaders. However, since this is ostensibly a British film, as I may have mentioned, they’re just sexually liberated popular females. Or, as the population of the world of the film might put it, “sluts who take it up the arse”. The plot revolves around the head girl Justine (played by the hilariously named Tuppence Middleton) and her new found group of popular friends. They’ve bullied a large boy and driven him to commit suicide, and she spoke at his funeral but cannot remember him. Conveniently the ghosts of the dead boy comes back from beyond the grave to kill or mame everyone who was connected with his death/bullying.

So far so standard, and to be fair Tormented offers little innovation in terms of plot or characterisation, though it is nice to see teenage stereotypes from a British background dick about onscreen. Every line spouted by the characters is more irritating than the last, and the script doesn’t really try to evoke audience empathy. This is a good thing, however, since it makes every death sweeter. You will really want these kids to die.

That brings us nicely around to the…meat…of the film: the horror. It’s not really scary by modern standards, but there’s adequate onscreen blood and gore to satisfy the 15 certificate. However, every death without exception is supposed to be funny, and each one hits the mark for laughs. I won’t spoil any of them because they’re pretty inventive, but a couple of good examples would be a particularly deadly wedgie or a fat zombie/ghost wearing swimming goggles. This is more Shaun of the Dead than it is Halloween and it’s all the better for it, avoiding the boring path trodden by recent American remakes of horror classics and instead trying to be ‘fun’.

Essentially, Tormented is supposed to be watched and enjoyed without thinking too much about what’s going on. It is rubbish and you’ll hate the script and all of the characters, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s a fluffy spectacle that should be seen by quite a few people. The one honourable mention should go to the portrayal of teenage sex within Tormented. In the two major sex scenes the director very deliberately shows the guys putting on condoms, and promotion of safe sex can only be a good thing when you know your audience is a bunch of horny teenagers. You could even argue that there’s an anti-bullying message to the film, but it isn’t really strong enough to shout about.

On a final note, Alex Pettyfer who some of you may remember from Stormbreaker proves himself to be one of the worst actors in the world. Well done Alex.


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