Taking a tabloid hot potato--school bullying--and turning it into an effective and very British horror film, Tormented
begins as the pupils of a suitably homogenous school gather at the funeral for one of their classmates, Darren Mullet. It quickly transpires that not many people knew him, and very few liked him, with even Tuppence Middleton’s head girl having to say words at his funeral when she seemingly barely had a nice word to say about him in real life. Post-funeral, everyone soon goes back to business as usual, with a party on the agenda. But then the chills start coming, as mobile phones start ringing, and the calls seem to be coming from the supposedly-deceased Mullet.
It’s a simple premise, and one that allows the script of Tormented to make one or two points about bullying, before getting down to its main business of being a better-than-expected teen horror movie. This is the kind of thing that generally American filmmakers have done best over the years, but thanks to a surprisingly strong teen cast, it turns out the film makers of Britain are more than up to the challenge, too.
Writer Stephen Prentice and director Jon Wright wisely take their time sliding the pieces of Tormented into place, establishing their characters and generally initiating in most cases plenty of reason why they should meet their maker. Director Wright then proves he’s an able student of the genre by framing some well-managed jumps, and while the ending is telegraphed some distance away, Tormented is an effective and really rather good little horror movie. Much better than you’re probably expecting, too… --Simon Brew
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Dolby DTS 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: An emotionally tortured teenager returns from the grave and promptly makes life hell for those who ostracized him, in this jet-black horror comedy with echoes of Carrie At the center of the British secondary school in question is Justine (Tuppence Middleton), a pampered, elitist rich bitch. Following the suicide of a bullied classmate - overweight, asthmatic Darren Mullett (Calvin Dean) - Justine tries to wheedle her way into the "in crowd," whose members are every bit as snotty and obnoxious as she is, and strikes up a torrid affair with Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas), the most popular boy in class. For a time, everyone assumes that Darren is dead and gone; then his corpse begins turning up and gruesomely picking off the bullies, one by one. ...Tormented