British horror comedy films are easily spotted. They’re generally low budget, incredibly gory and full of British actors you can’t quite place – a bit like the Wire. Tormented is no different, but its staggering use of sweary insults has to be some sort of record. It’s not bad, but I didn’t really enjoy it, and I feel that’s because I truly hope that Secondary schools aren’t really like this. At all.
Whereas in fact, they’re probably worse.
Tormented is a wish-fulfilment fable about the revenge of the bullied – they even throw in some Shakespeare ‘Macbeth’ analysis in the obligatory classroom scene to provide a little context, which suggests that Mullett, the tormented suicide victim of the title, has been summoned back by a mass attack of guilt, even if none of his classmates appear obviously sorry about what they did. He returns with some awesome bully-splatting powers. The rules of his undead powers aren’t exactly explained, but the only person escaping his wrath is the virginial, goody-two-shoes head girl, Justine.
As her classmates begin to die around her in increasingly inventive ways, Justine begins to realize that sometimes they do come back – and they might also have a crush on you. Can undead Darren Mullet be stopped? Do you really want him to stop? Aren’t they all, basically, a load of hateable, yet highly attractive self-centred little bastards who have it coming? And, by the way, where the hell are their parents?
This really falls somewhere between Skins, without the warmth, the Inbetweeners with far more gore, and One Missed Call (USA), without being a great big pile of shit. It hums with funked up teenage hormones and witty, unpleasant insults spurt messily in all directions. While it’s never, ever, remotely even the teeniest bit scary, it has fairly impressive death scenes and mutilations done with a huge tongue in the corner of its gob. While the horror is nicely taken care of, the comedy still depends on how funny you find really, really mean teenagers.
Pretty as the cast are, including Stormbreaker‘s Alex Pettyfer all grown up (and a legit hottie) their characters are as hateable as any dumb-ass co-ed in a Friday 13th movie, perhaps moreso because the performances are actually very good.
I didn’t enjoy this as much as other reviewers seem to, in fact I hadn’t even heard of this film until it popped up on Sky premiere movies last Friday. It was good enough to watch through until the end, and the epilogue just as the credits start is VERY funny, but I couldn’t warm to it, even though its suggestion that the bullied eventually become much worse than their tormentors is a nice touch.
This isn’t highly recommended, but a nice addition to the British horror comedy genre. I’d recommend The Cottage over this, which I found much funnier and far filthier in its own twisted way.
There aren’t as many bitchy schoolgirls in tiny skirts though, so each to their own.
According to Tormented, then, school sucks, kids are mean, and everyone has it coming – especially the PE teachers.
Can’t argue with that, although I find it very depressing…