What happened to Billy Zane, anyway? He was so disturbing in Dead Calm, despicable in Titanic, wickedly funny in Demon Knight and the only good part of The Phantom. Sure, he’s stayed gainfully employed since then, but look at his films since then…Blood of Redemption, Scorpion King 3, The Employer, Mercenaries, Sniper Reloaded, Blue Seduction, Surviving Evil…just a few selected titles from a resume consisting almost entirely of direct-to-video junk. Zane may never be mentioned in the same breath as DeNiro, but he’s always been a good character actor (and great villain). Is this junk all he’s being offered, or does he simply have a hard time saying no?
Whatever the case, Scorned is yet-another direct-to-video, low budget thriller which may help pay Zane’s mortgage, but doesn’t stand out from any of the other anonymous flicks acquired by premium cable channels to fill-out their late night broadcast schedule. Similarly, Scorned offers nothing we haven’t seen before in the bigger & better movies it emulates. Zane plays Kevin, a philanderer whose girlfriend, Sadie (AnnaLynne McCord) discovers he’s been cheating on her with her best friend, Jennifer (Viva Bianca).
The problem is Sadie is also a murderous psycho, flipping-on the crazy switch faster than Jack Nicholson in The Shining. She then manages to trap them both in Kevin’s secluded vacation home and commences torturing them. While some of these scenes are violent and cringe worthy, like when she rips out one of Jennifer’s teeth and re-enacts the hobbling scene from Misery on one of Kevin’s ankles, there is no real suspense. What starts as a Fatal Attraction knock-off devolves into mild bout of torture porn that’ll still disappoint those looking for big-time bloodletting.
Then there’s McCord as Sadie, who chews up the scenery like a rabid dog. Right from the get-go, her performance is so over-the-top that she’s more of a cartoon than an actual character. But maybe that isn’t her fault, because it’s obvious Sadie is the only character director/co-writer Mark Jones (he of Leprechaun fame) put any thought into. Billy Zane may be the most recognizable name in the cast, but his role could’ve been played by anyone with the ability to limp and scream.
I actually find this a tad ironic…Zane first gained fame in Dead Calm as one of the more disturbing and evil psychos in modern movie history. Now he’s playing the helpless victim to a character he could have arguably influenced. While I doubt that connection occurred to anyone involved in the film, this bit of irony does add a bit to its entertainment value.
For everyone else, Scorned is a forgettable and derivative composite of the erotic thriller and torture porn genres, one which won’t likely appease fans of either. As for Billy Zane…maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe he truly likes doing this stuff. Maybe he likes being a B movie icon with a steady paycheck (I know I would be). Maybe he’s so difficult to work with that movies like this are all he can get. Still, stuff like Scorned is a waste of his talent.
Still, wouldn't it be great if someone were to cast Zane as a Marvel super villain?