ByJohn Mountain, writer at
John Mountain

Directed by Jordan Barker

Written by Michael Foster and Thomas Pound

Torment begins with the home invasion and subsequent murder of a rural family by a group of unknown assailants, their faces hidden by hoods and shadows. The sole thing that we notice before their deaths is that all is not well within this family. We cut away to…

Cory and Sarah, his new wife and Liam, Cory’s son from his last marriage. Again, we notice that there is a slight dysfunction within the family unit. Liam doesn’t accept Sarah as his new mother and resents his father for remarrying. The three of vacation in a house in the peacefulness of the wilderness and soon discover that things are not as idyllic as they seem. There is evidence that someone has been living in the house; the heater is turned up, there are dirty dishes in the rooms and a hole in the door of the storm cellar. Cory calls the police and an officer investigates but tells them not to worry. Later that night Liam is taken and Cory and Sarah are stalked and captured by four assailants wearing masks fashioned from the heads of stuffed animals-a rabbit, a mouse, a pig and a monkey. The remainder of Torment becomes a race against time as Cory and Sarah try to not only keep themselves alive, but also to rescue Liam and return him to them safe and sound.

The main thing I found at fault with Torment is that it never rises above a mildly threatening level. A home invasion film should be among the most terrifying sub-genres of horror and simply put Torment fails to make the grade. Even The Strangers, an inferior American remake of the French home invasion film Ils (Them) is a superior film than Torment.

As much as I complain about the lack of tension in Torment I can’t say the same for how I feel about the character portrayals. Robin Dunne, Katharine Isabelle and Peter DaCunha work well as a believable family and I felt for them and the trauma that they went through onscreen. Oh, and lest I forget there is an all too short cameo by the perpetually reliable Stephen McHattie.

Unlike Ils or Funny Games or The Strangers, Torment is unlikely to transform you into a raving oikophobic (a person with an aversion to home surroundings) or agoraphobic for that matter. On the contrary; after the experience of Torment you will most likely find yourself sleeping peacefully with your doors unlocked and your windows wide open.


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