Thursday, November 6, 2014

Film Review: Torment (2013)

Torment (Review)
Canada/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...another film that mistakes silence and slow-motion for suspense."

Recently married Sarah (Katharine Isabelle) and Cory (Robin Dunne) vacation in their second home, and take Cory's son, Liam, with them to bond. Progress halts as they are invaded by an insane family...

Torment is a run-of-the-mill home invasion horror-thriller. The begins as a family drama where Sarah tries to bond with her step-son, Liam. They have some issues, but there is some progress. Eventually, during their first night in this vacation home, they are targeted by intruders. Liam goes missing, and Sarah and Cory race to rescue him. There some psychological elements here and there, and the story does pick up towards the end, but Torment's main plot is thin. I didn't like the ending, either.

Torment is mainly hindered by the generic story and clichés. I mean, how many times is a household going to be invaded by a group of intruders wearing "creepy" masks? You know, those intruders who always walk in slow-motion, and move their heads in interests when spoken to, like a dog trying to understand its master. I'm starting to believe every home invasion film takes place in the same universe, and it's literally the same intruders -- that's the only reason I can think of for using the same style for each home invasion film.

Other than its unbelievably generic approach, Torment also suffers from some inconsistent pacing and some dull moments. This is another film that mistakes silence and slow-motion for suspense. It doesn't reach ridiculous levels of boredom like Home Sweet Home (another generic home invasion thriller), but it suffers from this flaw a handful of times. Otherwise, the film has some genuinely suspenseful moments, a couple of creepy scenes, and some decent psychological moments. I think there were at least two scenes that really gave me chills. (hint: I'm afraid of plastic bags.)

The acting is occasionally decent, but mostly mediocre. Katharine Isabelle overacts for most of the film; I had a great laugh every time she screamed and jumped. Robin Dunne is decent. The film looks okay; the film is often unnecessarily dominated by darkness, though, so it's hard to see what's going on at times. The music fit the tone of the film, but it's mostly forgettable. Director Jordan Barker builds some mild suspense and delivers some creepy scenes, but lacks consistent pacing; the film suffers more from its clichés than Baker's direction.

Overall, Torment is a mediocre film. For the most part, it's another been-there-done-that home invasion film. Even so, most of its original ideas are half-baked, as well. It's not a terrible film, like Home Sweet Home, but it's not a great film, either. It has its moments, but not enough of them, though. You won't lose any sleep if you watch it or miss it, so flip a coin. However, if you're tired of the subgenre, I'd avoid it until, well, you're not tired of it.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some brief sex.

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