The Tortured (2010)

A young couple’s life is destroyed when their only child is kidnapped and killed. Obsessed with revenge, the couple seizes an opportunity to kidnap the killer and extract their revenge.

I originally wrote this review back when I started my site in June. Now a few more people visit here, I wanted to re-post it and share my thoughts with you once again.

The Tortured stars Jesse Metcalfe and Erika Christensen as a young couple who are out for revenge on a man convicted of kidnapping and murdering their five-year-old son. Coming from Twisted Pictures who produced the ‘Saw’ franchise my hopes were high for this film.

I have to be honest, this was tricky for me to review. I originally saw The Tortured a year or so ago, and whilst it wasn’t perfect or free from plot holes, I liked the twists or at least the idea of them the director tried to pull off. However, after watching again the twists look so obvious and the film is really let down by this. I’m going to try my best to not spoil anything, and I want to try and review it based on my initial feelings, but the true test of a good film is the ability to sit back and watch it time after time, something I don’t feel works out well for The Tortured.

Minor spoilers lay ahead……….

The Tortured started off well, it showed the couples child being snatched out of their yard and despite giving chase Jesse Metcalfe’s character Craig Landry loses sight of his son. We then get some scenes of the frantic couple calling the police and trying to locate their son, mixed in with some scenes of the killer John Kozlowski played by genre favourite Bill Moseley, tormenting his prisoner and dressing in some freaky makeup. A few scenes later the police eventually discover the killers location and the dead body of the son resulting in Kozlowski being sentenced to 25 years in prison. The Landry’s are obviously distraught at the verdict as he could be out in 10 years, and they decide to take the law into their own hands. With Craig being a doctor he knows ways to inflict pain without killing his victim, so together the grieving couple concoct a plan to hijack the prisoner on route to jail and torture him like he tortured their son.

We are then treated to some torture scenes and whilst there is nothing too brutal or extravagant, the doctor has some nasty little treats in store for their prisoner. The pace picks up at this point, and we get some scenes very reminiscent of Twisted Pictures much bigger hit ‘Saw’ with flashy quick camera work and even some very similar music, and ultimately the film ends with a few neat little twists. Again, without spoiling them, the first time round whilst I wasn’t totally surprised I thought it tied together quite well, with just a few unanswered questions and plot holes but nothing that ruined the film. However, second time round the twists just don’t work, they are almost laughable, and the ending really doesn’t do the film any justice.

In terms of acting, Jesse Metcalfe and Erika Christensen do a decent job playing the grieving couple, nothing too spectacular but solid jobs none the less. Bill Moseley has been in some great genre films, his work with Rob Zombie for example, and is fine in his role here. Again, nothing too special, although the ‘bat-shit crazy singing in make-up’ look he sports at the beginning is up there with ‘Buffalo Bill’ as one of the weirdest looking movie killers!

Visually it’s a dark and gritty looking film, most of the action takes place in a basement and for the gore hounds there are a few squirm inducing pieces of torture.

In the interest of fairness, I believe if you haven’t seen the film it is very much worth watching, and hopefully if you don’t guess the twist then you will be rewarded with a decent movie. However, if you have seen it, I urge you not to re-watch it. Seriously, it will just ruin your first time as you spot plot hole after plot hole.

Overall, The Tortured is a decent film which has a few different ideas but doesn’t quite execute them to their full potential. No wonder it has sat on the shelf in terms of release for so long. I don’t think it ever got a proper cinema release, and having been out on blu ray/dvd for a while it’s very cheap to purchase now and you could do much worse than giving it a watch.

Leave a comment


  1. Good review of a film in unfamiliar with. Wicked poster as well!


  2. I think Netflix has this. I’ve thought about watching it but it looks like one big derivativeness fest


  3. jenkakio

     /  October 29, 2012

    Interesting movie. After reading your first paragraph, I’ve decided that I should watch it before reading on. I don’t want to accidentally read any minor spoilers. The concept sounds very “Last House on the Left”…but not really. This movie sounds like fun to watch for Halloween. It may not be the best, but fun nonetheless.


    • Thats the best way to do it, as a first time viewing the twists and turns work well, and I hope you enjoy it.

      Swap the brutal rape for a brutal murdering of a child and yeah I can see the similarities, overall an exercise in how far people will go to get revenge.

      Thanks for the comment, and please let me know what you think if you do manage to catch it 🙂


  4. Oh this movie…how I was frustrated. Set-up and premise were good, but that ending…well, I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say that it seemed a massive cop-out for the audience, like the film needed something shocking at the end just for the sake of it.

    Great review though man!


    • Yeah I know, first time round it didn’t feel too bad and I quite liked what they were aiming for with it. Repeat viewings just highlight the flaws with it though, and as I mentioned it becomes laughable.

      Thanks Dave 🙂


  5. amy madden

     /  January 23, 2013

    Warning this contains a major spoiler……

    I really enjoyed this film and i always like a twisted ending, but this ending kind of left me confused. Since that rarely happens when i watch a movie I would like to know if anyone else can tell me why the guy they tortured the whole time wrote them a note apologizing if he was not the one that kidnapped their son.


    • I think he was just so traumatized after everything that happened (and he was guilty of another crime) he convinced himself he was the man they thought he was. Thats my interpretation anyway 🙂


  6. Ryan

     /  May 17, 2013

    Unfortunately, after watching a zillion movies, you get to where, if a movie doesn’t grab you and make you care enough to really get invested in a story, you start (if you’re like me) guessing what’s going to happen next and how it’s going to end, and this one I had pegged pretty early on. I’m not bragging, believe me, I’d much rather be surprised, so it made me more depressed than anything, ’cause there was some genuine talent wasted here.


    • Definitely wasted talent. Watching again I’m annoyed at myself for not seeing all the clues, but second time round it made it look worse. Thanks for seeking this review out Ryan 🙂


      • Ryan

         /  May 19, 2013

        Just looking thru the archives to see what we’ve both seen. More to come, and I’ll try to be more to the point in the future. 😉


        • I appreciate you doing it, ramble and say what you like, I love you taking the time to check them out 🙂


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