Tormented (2009 film)
Original release poster
|Directed by||Jon Wright|
|Produced by||Cavan Ash
Arvind Ethan David
|Written by||Stephen Prentice|
|Music by||Paul Hartnoll|
|Editing by||Matt Platts-Mills|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. (UK/France)
Paramount Vantage (US)
MPI Home Video (US DVD)
IFC Films (US TV)
|Running time||91 minutes|
Tormented is a 2009 British horror-comedy film starring Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Dimitri Leonidas, Calvin Dean and newcomer Tuppence Middleton. Directed by Jon Wright and written by newcomer Stephen Prentice, the film was released on 22 May 2009 in the UK. Tormented was produced by BBC Films, Pathé, Slingshot Studios, Forward Films, and Screen West Midlands, and the music was composed by Orbital member Paul Hartnoll.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (July 2012)|
The film opens with head girl Justine Fielding (Tuppence Middleton) being escorted out of Fairview High School by the police, as other pupils look on. There is then a flashback to five days earlier, where Justine is reading at the funeral of unpopular, asthmatic student Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean). She starts to talk about him, when Mullet's equally unpopular friend, Jason Banks (Olly Alexander), stands up in church and angrily calls her a hypocrite because she did not really know him. He is then thrown out of church by the sadistic PE teacher. Later on, Justine is talking to her friend Helena (Mary Nighy) about staying in and watching a Keira Knightley DVD when school heart-throb Alex (Dimitri Leonidas) decides to invite her to a party that his popular friends, Bradley (Alex Pettyfer), Tasha (April Pearson), Khalillah (Larissa Wilson), Sophie (Georgia King), and Marcus (Tom Hopper), are having. She decides to go to the party, rather than staying in with Helena.
At the party, when Justine arrives, Tasha tells Jez (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), the DJ, to say something about her appearance. He begins to rap about her in an unflattering manner. When Alex tells him to stop, he is literally thrown out of the party by Bradley. Later, Alex and Justine go to one of the bedrooms where Alex he tells her they are on a date, at which point they kiss. Meanwhile, Bradley, Tasha, Khalillah, Marcus and Sophie all receive insulting and degrading text messages from Mullet's number. During this, someone puts on a clown costume and grabs a chainsaw, before heading up to the room in which Alex and Justine are kissing. The figure is revealed to be Bradley, who is playing a prank on them.
Jez goes to the cemetery to celebrate Mullet's death and urinates on his grave (while claiming to himself that Mullet hanged himself to somehow get an erection). He is then killed by an unseen figure, who stabs him with a cross. Later, the 'in-crowd' have a toast to Mullet's life, and Justine admits that she didn't even know who he was. The next day, the group arrives at school, and the headmaster mentions that Jez never came home the night before. Bradley threatens Nasser (James Floyd), the leader of the school's emo clique, about removing a website he had put up about Mullet. Justine is persuaded to hang around with the popular crowd, and tells Helena that she won't be able to make it to her DVD night. She finds a teddy bear (stolen from Mullet's grave) in her locker and assumes it is from Alex. He asks her on another date after this, which she agrees to. She goes to see Jason and he tells her that Mullet was in love with her, and hands her his suicide note. While she is reading the note, a teacher tells her that she will make a great pupil at Oxford University. In the school's recording studio, Nasser is then attacked, and sees Mullet's ghost. The ghost increases the volume of Nasser's music and forces him to listen, rendering him deaf. He is taken to the ambulance, yelling to everyone; "Mullet's back!", but no one believes him.
Over the course of the day, the gang get more messages, and Bradley believes Jason is sending them. Jason, meanwhile is in art class, and the teacher tells everyone that the guillotine is faulty and they shouldn't touch it. A boy sent by Bradley fetches him out of class, and then Bradley and Marcus chase him into the gym, where they give him a wedgie and assault him, but are interrupted by another message, meaning Jason cannot have sent it. The sadistic PE teacher then arrives and unfairly gives Jason detention. Later, Justine confronts Jason about the note, but he denies forging it, and breaks down in tears about the horrific bullying that caused Darren Mullet to kill himself. He tells Justine about the vicious emails and texts sent to Mullet, and also tells her about the website that Bradley's gang created about him. When Justine asks who was responsible for Mullet's suicide, Jason fearfully glances over at the popular kids she has been hanging out with. She shows Alex the suicide note, but his friends tell her she cannot hand it into the police, because as it accuses Justine of hating him, she would implicate herself in his death. The girls decide that Helena has been sending the messages and attack her in the bathroom, with Tasha smashing her phone. After swim practice, Sophie tells Justine that she should sleep with Alex that night, but goes back into the swimming pool, where she is attacked by Mullet's ghost, who throws her into the pool and drags her underwater where she drowns.
Later that night, Justine and Alex slept together, but are seen by Mullet who had lovingly brought some flowers for her, who tears the badge from her uniform, and re-arranges her fridge magnets, calling her a "dirty slut just like the others". Marcus is then in PE class, where he sees Mullet's ghost, and the teacher tells him to go and have a shower, just as the art teacher arrives and tells the head that they have found Sophie's body. In the shower, he is led to a mirror with "moron" on it which Marcus hates being called, then is brutally whipped with a towel by the ghost of Mullet while nude. He manages to fight him off with a cricket bat after painfully popping his bloodied eye back into his skull and heads outside, running into Helena, who accuses him of trying to rape her because he is semi naked. He manages to get outside, but is impaled upon a fence by the ghost. Later on, the gang are at Bradley's house, and they have an argument about who killed their friends, ending in Tasha and Justine getting into a fight, and Justine is thrown into the swimming pool. Bradley decides to go and dig Mullet's body up at the cemetery to prove that Mullet cannot be responsible for the murders.
Justine goes home, and demands that Alex shows her the website, where she tearfully witnesses the diabolical stunts inflicted on Mullet by Bradley and his friends - including Alex (who refers to Justine as "Head Girlus Frigidus Bitchus"). Justine is even more revolted when she realizes that she was rude to Mullet because he interrupted a conversation about her going to Oxford, and ignored his pleas for her to stop the in-crowd torturing him. She tells Alex that he is deceitful and a liar, and that their relationship is over.
Tasha becomes drunk in Bradley's car as he took her to dig up Mullet. After attempting to dig up Mullet's corpse, Bradley breaks down, and begins to cry with grief over the death of his friends. Tasha consoles him, and the two have sex in the back seat of Bradley's car. Tasha sees Mullet's ghost and tries to get Bradley off her. Despite her desperate attempt to get Bradley's attention, Mullet drags Bradley out of the vehicle and rips off his penis (this was confirmed in an interview with Alex Pettyfer) killing Bradley due to blood loss. Tasha gets free and runs into an open grave. She explains that she lied to Mullet, telling that she loved him ever since they met each other. Mullet stands behind her with a shovel and decapitates her.
The next day, she arrives at the art class, where Jason has painted Munch's "The Scream" painting, and tells him that she was responsible for Mullet's death. He tells her that it has been his fault, because he was scared of being bullied, so he told Bradley that Mullet fancied her. She leaves the room, and Mullet appears, and kills him by jamming two pencils up his nose and slamming his head against the table. Justine approaches Helena and tells her that she is sorry, that her friends, including Alex were all horrible. Khalillah runs over and asks her where Tasha is, but Justine tells her she doesn't care. Khalillah then gets a text message from Tasha telling her to meet her in the art room.
Before Justine can follow, she is confronted by Alex, who tells her he is going to kill Mullet for what he has done to everyone. Justine tells him that Khalilah is in danger. Khalillah gets to the empty art room, and sees "The Scream" with her name on it, at which point Mullet puts a plastic bag over her head, before using the guillotine to slice her hands off. She tries to call the head teacher, but he is too busy with the police, who tell him that Justine's badge has been found near the bodies of Bradley and Tasha. They get to the art room, and find Jason's and Khalillah's bodies, but are attacked by Mullet. They break free, by stabbing him in the stomach with a screwdriver and head to the common room, where Mullet follows them. Alex tries to stop him, but is stabbed in the hand with the screwdriver and his hand is tightly nailed in the floor. Justine gets him to stop, but he begins to choke her to death. She grabs his inhaler and throws it across the room, telling Alex to smash it. He does, and the ghost begins to die. Justine tells Alex to leave, but he starts being a bully again and punches Mullet, knocking a sofa over, and finding Mullet's other inhaler which Alex had hidden from Mullet when he was alive. Mullet then uses it and then stabs Alex in the throat with the screwdriver. Mullet flees just as the police arrive. Justine is then led out and into the police car seen earlier, having been arrested for the murders. She sees Mullet's ghost but then it disappears, what happened next to her is never revealed.
During the credits, there is a sequence where the foul-mouthed PE teacher is telling students off, and Mullet is shown getting ready for revenge on him.
|Alex Pettyfer||Bradley White||The smug, foul-mouthed leader of Fairview's popular crowd. Bradley is a cruel, heartless bully who abuses all outside his clique for sadistic glee. He later reveals a vulnerable side after Sophie and Marcus are killed, and meets his end in the cemetery after Mullet hauls him from his car and castrates him.|
|April Pearson||Natasha Cummings||Bradley's conniving and sadistic girlfriend who is feared by many of the girls at her school. She is far cleverer and more wicked than Sophie, and is a major participant in the bullying of Darren Mullet. She also shows a strong (but discreet) resentment and jealousy towards Justine. She is decapitated by Mullet after he chases her into an open grave.|
|Dimitri Leonidas||Alexis||Confident and popular, Alex is an ambivalent teen who seems to have more depth than his friends. His feelings for Justine are genuine, but he fears angering Bradley, and claims he had no choice in bullying Mullet, but it is clear he too gained joy from it. Mullet kills him with a screwdriver to the throat.|
|Georgia King||Sophie||Sophie is the shallow and ditzy bottle-blonde of the in-crowd, who clearly revels in her elite social status. She is dating Marcus and almost displays a compassionate side, which she quickly hides beneath a sarcastic and cunning exterior. She is the first of the bullies to die. Mullet drowns her in the school swimming pool.|
|Larissa Wilson||Khalillah||She is Tasha's diminutive, but extremely fierce, right-hand woman. She regularly happy slapped Mullet, who never fought back. She dies after Mullet chops off her hands in the art room.|
|Calvin Dean||Darren Mullet||Mullet was an obese, awkward student who suffered from asthma. He was nicknamed "Shrek" by his classmates, who took diabolical pleasure in torturing him verbally and physically. Mullet was deeply in love with Justine but she literally didn't even notice him. Mullet killed himself to escape the bullying, but returned from the dead to get revenge upon the popular students who made his life hell.|
|Tom Hopper||Marcus||Bradley's strong, athletic second-in-command, who pins the victim down whilst Bradley punches him. Marcus is dating Sophie, and is probably the only person who does not fear Bradley. He has a strange fetish for smelling girls, and affectionately tells Sophie she "smells like cabbage". Marcus fights back at the ghostly Mullet, but loses and is impaled on a fence through his head.|
|Tuppence Middleton||Justine Fielding||Fairview High's angelic head girl who is unaware of the circumstances surrounding Mullet's death, but after she begins dating Alex, the awful truth is slowly revealed to her. Justine is pretty and popular, yet seen as a snob by her peers. She gives a speech at Mullet's funeral simply to enhance her image, and later laughingly admits she didn't even know who he was. Mullet grows to hate her after she begins seeing Alex, and she is framed for the murders.|
|Mary Nighy||Helena||Fairview's prim deputy head girl and Justine's best friend. Helena is quiet and studious and begins to resent Justine for hanging with the cool crowd of Fairview. She is later assaulted by Tasha and her friends, and ends her friendship with Justine.|
|Olly Alexander||Jason Banks||Mullet's only friend, and possibly the only person in school as unpopular as him. Jason seems to have a slight hint of courage, as he is the only one to denounce the school for driving Mullet to suicide, and is particularly profane in his tirade about the bullies. He admits out of guilt he was the one who revealed the truth about Mullet's love for Justine to Bradley's gang to protect himself. Outraged, Mullet kills him.|
|Sophie Wu||Mai Lee||Nasser's gothic girlfriend.|
|Hugh Mitchell||Tim||A sullen goth who hangs with Nasser.|
|James Floyd||Nasser||The ringleader of Fairview's emos. He finds death "erogenous" and criticizes Mullet for hanging himself rather than cutting his wrists. He is attacked by Mullet in the school studio, and is driven deaf after Mullet increases the music volume and forces him to listen until his ears bleed.|
|Peter Amory||Headteacher||The ineffective head of Fairview High, who shows no concern for his students and does little to end bullying in his school.|
|Ruby Bentall||Emily||A timid friend of Justine's. She has no dialogue in the film.|
|Geoff Bell||Gordon||The malicious gym teacher, who despises weaklings - Jason in particular - and openly favours the strong, confident popular kids.|
The film was released in the UK on 22 May 2009. The world premiere took place on 19 May at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square followed by a national premiere at Cineworld in Birmingham on 21 May 2009. Although a US release date of July 10 had been speculated, sources are lacking. The US release come over Paramount Vantage. The film ran on the IFC Festival 2009 on 21 September 2009.
The film's budget was under £1 million ($1.5 million).
Total Film magazine described the film as "A slasher for the Skins generation" and goes on to say "Tormented catches the spirit of the times without being too try-hard. Quips and snogging take precedence over scares, but its commentary on new technology’s power to intimidate is chillingly apt." and awarded the film 3 stars out of 5. Empire called it "cynical, gruesome fun" and "consistently funny" and awarded the film 4 stars out of 5.
The DVD was released in the UK on 28 September 2009. It—along with the cinema release—was heavily cut in order to get a 15 rating. The DVD included an in-vision cast and director commentary and documentaries about the making of the film. The US DVD is unrated and was released on August 31, 2010.
- "Tormented". Tormentedthemovie.com. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
- Thomas, Archie (2008-08-06). "Alex Pettyfer set to be 'Tormented'". Variety.
- Tormented release date in the UK
- You’ll be TORMENTED by IFC this month
- "IFC Festival Direct Trailer for 'Tormented'". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Tormented Budget under £1 million
- "TORMENTED and Terrorized: Part One". Fangoria.com. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "TORMENTED and Terrorized: Part Two". Fangoria.com. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Rotten Tomatoes". Uk.rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Review of Tormented". TotalFilm.com. 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
- "''Tormented'' review at Empire Magazine". Empireonline.com. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "''In the news'' review". Inthenews.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Real review[dead link]