That said, I’m a big boy. I can take it. That’s my way of saying I kind of dug the evil game it plays, mammoth faults and all, because how often does that happen?
Having a child kidnapped is something I hope never to experience, yet that’s the premise behind this nasty little thriller, which certainly doomed its box-office prospects from the start. The cute, cheery, 6-year-old son of the Landry family is swiped in broad daylight from their own front yard and later — their only child — found dead.
Rather than let his killer (Bill Moseley, Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet) get off with the light sentence he’s given, Mr. and Mrs. Landry (a lightweight Jesse Metcalfe and middleweight Erika Christensen of, respectively, the TV series Dallas and Parenthood) take matters into their own hands. How these hands get the guy in the first place threaten viewers’ suspension of disbelief, but hey, they’ve got a torture-porn movie to make here.
Taking the killer to a secluded and abandoned cabin, the Landrys torture the bejesus out of the guy. They burn his chest, inject muscle-cramping drugs, shove a needle through his eardrum, play a game of “little elephant” (you’ll see) and put his foot in a vise. This is just a few of the couple’s acts of revenge, and the first one turns them on so much, they immediately retreat to the bedroom to go at it like rabbits.
To keep the animal-kingdom similes going, you’ll be struck like a deer in headlights. The Tortured isn’t for everyone — I don’t know if it’s even for one in 10 — and its final moments — aka “the Saw ending” — almost dare you to admit you wanted to watch at all. Will that be you? —Rod Lott