The Tortured, unconvincingly written by Marek Posival and awkwardly directed by Robert Lieberman, is a nasty piece of work that’s been hanging around for two years looking for an audience. It’s a revolting horror film that wastes the talents and good looks of Erika Christensen and Jesse Metcalfe in favor of severed penises and other violent atrocities performed on a kitchen table. Be forewarned: it’s not for the demure or easily shocked.
In a formidable and well-staged opening sequence, a six-year-old boy is kidnapped from the peaceful safety of his own front yard, and brutally abused by a wacko pervert in a dark basement surrounded by stuffed monkeys, caged animals and children’s toys. When the child is found murdered and dismembered, the distraught parents have a psychological need to blame someone, but after the cops find numerous remains buried in the killer’s back yard and the jury gives the defendant an easy 25-year plea bargain, the boy’s parents seek a level of justice betrayed by the court by taking the law into their own hands. Embarking on a daring plan to highjack the transport van taking the killer to prison and then give the monster a dose of his own medicine by carrying out their own death penalty, the movie turns from tense to preposterous. The upper middle-class married couple, played by Metcalfe and Christensen, is too beautiful and camera-ready to be believable as grizzled, emotionally destroyed shadows of their former selves. The husband is a doctor, so he knows all about the devastating effects of injectable poisons. All the viewer can do is squirm as they burn their victim with lighted cigarettes, soldering irons and boiling
Running Time 79 minutes
Written by Marek Posival
Directed by Robert Lieberman
Starring Erika Christensen, Jesse Metcalfe and Bill Lippincott