High school can be a hellish experience. Especially if you weigh three hundred pounds, can’t go more than three minutes without your asthma inhaler and have a constant pack of cool kids filming the asinine, yet effectively demoralizing things they do to you, then put it all on the internet. In Jon Wright’s film Tormented from across the pond, that happens to be the case for Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean), who’s last name doesn’t help matters either.
The film begins with the head girl at an affluent British high school being pushed into the back of a police car, in handcuffs, covered in blood, in front of all her fellow students. Then it goes back a bit in time to show us exactly how we get there. After an unusual amount of being picked on, Mullet has killed himself. But someone keeps sending threatening and vulgar texts to all his tormentors from beyond the grave. It’s brushed off as a prank, until people start to die.
When it comes to creative deaths, Tormented could compete with any of the Final Destination or Saw films. They’re not as drawn out for entertainment, but you certainly won’t be bored with kill scenes. Wright and his talented cast (a virtual who’s who of Brit TV stars in their early twenties) manage to take a story that’s riddled with cliches of every kind and make an effectively creepy and funny horror-com. If any complaint is to be made, it’s that Tormented could have been much scarier if it hadn’t lent itself to so many laughs. This level of accomplishment in a film of such a low budget (around £1,000,000) is impressive.
The film loses a bit of it’s tension about half way through when we finally get a glimpse of the undead killer. In fact, after the halfway mark, Mullet has quite a bit of screen time, taking away the unlimited possibilities of our imaginations and underwhelmingly defining the man behind the mask, as it were.
Despite the films minor problems, Wright’s given us a Hollywood-quality thrill ride with just the right mood. And just in time for Halloween!