Tormented (2009) starring Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Dimitri Leonidas, Calvin Dean, Tuppence Middleton, Georgia King directed by Jon Wright Movie Review

Tormented (2009)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Tuppence Middleton as Justine in Tormented

Bullied Over Tuppence

"Tormented" is billed as a British Comedy Horror, well it is British and in a teen slasher way it is horror but funny, not in the slightest. Having said that it tries to be funny, it tries to poke fun at the school cool clique, the geeks as well as humour from deathly retribution but try as it might it doesn't succeed. In fact at times "Tormented" is almost in poor taste as we have a story about a bullied kid coming back from the dead to torment those who tormented him and only once does it get across how vile bullying is. But I am sure those who like cheap laughs, slasher style horror and a variety of school stereotypes will probably enjoy it.

Despite not being able to remember him, head girl Justine (Tuppence Middleton) is asked to speak at the funeral for a fellow student Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) who committed suicide. Following the funeral she finds herself heading to a celebratory party held by Bradley (Alex Pettyfer) where she falls for the charms of Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas). But then strange things begin to happen as Bradley and his clique get threatening text messages from Darren's mobile and Justine discovers that Bradley and Alexis as well as their clique had been bullying Darren. When members of Bradley's clique start showing up dead Justine believes Darren has returned from the grave to get his revenge.

Tom Hopper and Alex Pettyfer in Tormented

In fairness "Tormented" starts reasonably well, we witness head girl Justine being arrested by the police and we jump to 5 days earlier to the funeral of Darren Mullet where as head girl she is asked to speak despite not really knowing who Darren was. It's different, it grabs your interest and of course what follows basically covers those 5 days to us watching Justine being lead away by police looking shell shocked.

But sadly "Tormented" then goes seriously wrong as we meet various extreme characters attending the funeral from the mohawked Nasser to the self centred Bradley and his clique of school kids. It's trying to be funny with these extreme stereotypes, insensitive cool kids, over the top Goths as well as a geek or two but it's not funny. And it doesn't really get much better as we head to a post funeral party held by Bradley where Alex makes a play for Justine although we do get an amusing chainsaw scene, probably the best moment of comedy horror in the whole movie.

What follows on from there ends up just plainly obvious as these kids end up receiving threatening messages from Darren's phone and then each one being picked off by Darren who has returned from the dead. Meanwhile Janine discovers that Darren was bullied by Bradley, Alex and his friends and she becomes disgusted by what she learns.

The thing is that here we have a movie about bullying, a subject which isn't much fun yet for the most it almost feels like they are trying to make light of the fact that Darren was so depressed from being bullied he killed himself. We witness various scenes where Darren is bullied and pretty much every single one is done in such a manner to try and be funny although more often or not ending up in poor taste. The only time it gets close to being hard hitting when it comes to the cruelty of bullying is when Janine sees a website which features footage of Darren being bullied and it certainly hits home how sick bullying is. But we are talking about maybe a minute in a 90 minute movie and the rest of the movie seems to revel in it.

Of course "Tormented" is also a horror movie and so we have the grizzly slasher elements as the various bullies get their comeuppance. Well I suppose some of these horror moments are impressive, a comical end for Marcus is one of the best but none of it is really that stunning. And whilst many of these horror moments purposely look a little fake in order to be comical none of them are that imaginative, basically you will forget most of them within a few hours.

And forgettable are most of the performances from various fresh faced youngish actors and I say youngish because whilst there are some who are young enough to still be at school there are many who are in their 20s and look it. Whilst Alex Pettyfer may be the best known name amongst these youngish actors it is Calvin Dean as Darren Mullet who stands out because he looks like James Corden if he was playing Bane in "Batman & Robin". The thing is none of the performances are bad, they are in keeping with the extreme stereotypes but they're just not memorable.

What this all boils down to is that "Tormented" is to be frank a disappointing attempt at doing British comedy horror. It does have some good moments both of comedy and horror and briefly gets a message across about how sick bullying is but for the most it just doesn't work, isn't funny and not that scary either.