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The Tortured

The Tortured, starring Jesse Metcalf, starts with an interesting story, but dissolves into gratuitous violence and lacks morals.

Director: Robert Lieberman
Starring: Erika Christensen, Jesse Metcalfe

Justice takes a turn for the macabre in this revenge-themed horror-thriller from the producers of Saw. The Tortured stars Christensen (Traffic) and Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives) as a couple who live every parent's worst nightmare, when their young son is kidnapped and killed by a serial killer (Bill Moseley).

Stricken and obsessed with vengeance, the couple kidnap the killer and subject him to endless, unimaginable torture. As their grief clouds their better judgement, the lines between justice and malice become blurred.

Hideously graphic, the film takes a genuinely compelling "what would you do?" scenario and turns it into what feels like an extension of the Saw franchise.

Completely bypassing moral issues by including as much gore and torture as possible, any work the leads do to appear sympathetic is lost in the simple notion that they quickly become as bad as the man they have captured.

Neither Metcalfe nor Christensen really shines as the parents, as they don't produce performances deep or emotional enough to justify such horrific drama. Moseley (a veteran of horror films such as The Devil's Rejects) is reliably gruesome, but overall, it's a film more suited to the bottom shelf of the DVD rental store, not the multiplex.

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