Tormented (2009 British film)
Original release poster
|Directed by||Jon Wright|
|Written by||Stephen Prentice|
|Music by||Paul Hartnoll|
|Edited by||Matt Platts-Mills|
Tormented is a 2009 British comedy horror slasher film directed by Jon Wright and written by Stephen Prentice. The film stars Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Dimitri Leonidas, Calvin Dean and Tuppence Middleton. The plot centers around a group of students being stalked and murdered by the ghost of a bullied teenager. The film was released on 22 May 2009 in the United Kingdom by Pathé and was produced by BBC Films, Pathé, Slingshot Studios, Forward Films, and Screen West Midlands. It received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with many praising the humour and cast, but criticizing the formulaic plot. The film earned £284,757 on a £700,000 budget.
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Five days earlier, 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 by the sadistic PE teacher. Later on, Justine is talking to her friend Helena (Mary Nighy) 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.
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 and 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 Alex and Justine. It is Bradley, who is pranking them.
Jez goes to the cemetery and urinates on Mullet's grave. He is stabbed with a wooden crucifix by Mullet.
Later, the 'in-crowd' toast Mullet. Justine admits that she didn't even know who he was. At school, the headmaster mentions that Jez never came home. 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, as well as 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!". However, no one believes him.
The gang get more messages. Bradley believes Jason is sending them. Jason, meanwhile is in art class. The art teacher tells everyone that the guillotine is faulty and they shouldn't touch it. A boy sent by Bradley fetches Jason out of class, then Bradley and Marcus assault him, but they are interrupted by another message, showing Jason is innocent. The PE teacher arrives and gives Jason detention. Later, Justine confronts Jason about the note, but he denies forging it, as well as breaks down in tears about the horrific bullying that caused Darren Mullet to kill himself. He tells Justine about the vicious texts sent to Mullet, as well as a website that Bradley's gang created about him. When Justine asks who was responsible for Mullet's suicide, Jason glances at the popular kids. 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 to retrieve her watch. She is attacked by Mullet's ghost until she drowns.
Later, Justine and Alex sleep together, but are seen by Mullet who had brought some flowers for her. Mullet tears the badge from her uniform, as well as re-arranges her fridge magnets, calling her a "dirty slut". Marcus is then in PE class, where he sees Mullet's ghost and the PE 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" written on it, which Marcus hates being called. He is then 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 through the skull upon an iron fence by the ghost. Later on, the gang are at Bradley's house, where 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.
Justine goes home, as well as 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, as well as ignored his pleas for her to stop the in-crowd torturing him. She tells Alex that he is deceitful and a liar, as well as that their relationship is over.
Tasha becomes drunk in Bradley's car as he takes 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 they have sex in Bradley's car. Tasha sees Mullet's ghost and, 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 decapitates her with a shovel.
The next day, Justine arrives at the art class, where Jason has painted Munch's "The Scream" painting, as well as 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, where 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, as well as 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, as well as 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, while Mullet is shown getting ready for revenge on him.
- Tuppence Middleton as Justine
- Alex Pettyfer as Bradley
- April Pearson as Natasha Cummings
- Dimitri Leonidas as Alexis
- Calvin Dean as Darren Mullet
- Georgia King as Sophie
- Mary Nighy as Helena
- Olly Alexander as Jason Banks
- James Floyd as Nasser
- Sophie Wu as Mei Lei
- Hugh Mitchell as Tim
- Larissa Wilson as Khalilah
- Ruby Bentall as Emily
- Tom Hopper as Marcus
- Peter Amory as Head Teacher
- Geoff Bell as Games Teacher
- Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Jez
- Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mr. Humpage
Development and filming
In 5 January 2009, it was announced that Jon Wright would direct a 2009 British comedy horror and slasher film titled Tormented which would be released in cinemas on 22 May 2009 in the UK. Cavan Ash, Tracy Brimm, Arvind Ethan David and Kate Myers produced the film with the budget of £700,000 and Stephen Prentice wrote the film. It was announced that Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Dimitri Leonidas, Georgia King, Larissa Wilson, Calvin Dean, Tom Hopper, Tuppence Middleton, Mary Nighy, Olly Alexander, Sophie Wu, Hugh Mitchell, James Floyd, Peter Amory, Ruby Bentall and Geoff Bell would star in the movie. Warner Bros., Paramount Vantage, MPI Home Video and IFC Films acquired distribution rights to the film. Paul Hartnoll would compose the music for the movie. BBC Films, Pathé and Forward Films co-produced the film. The film was filmed at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, England, UK, Streetly School, Birmingham, West Midlands, England, UK and Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, England, UK in 20 January 2009.
- Dead In Love - Desert Sessions
- What Planet You On? – Bodyrox ft. Luciana
- Lesbian Roadkill - Tantric Dwarf
- Ride – The Vines
- Outtathaway! - The Vines
- Don't Be Afraid – Keaton Henson
- Dew Climbs - Lunz
- Monster Hospital – Metric
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 10 July 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). IFC Films released the film in the US via on-demand service in late October 2009.
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 31 August 2010.
The film has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. It holds a 69% rating and an average rating of 5.7 on Rotten Tomatoes from 27 reviews and 5.2 out of 10 on Internet Movie Database. 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. Sky Movies also awarded the film 4 stars out of 5. In the news awarded the film 9 out of 10, and Real awarded the film 5 stars.
|Narcisse Award||Best Feature Film||Jon Wright||Nominated|
- "Tormented (2009)" – via www.imdb.com.
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- "IFC Festival Direct Trailer for 'Tormented'". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "FANGORIA® - America's Horror Magazine Since 1979". fangoriaonline.com.
- "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 Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.