First off, as of the writing of this critique, Amazon has combined reviews for the 2009 British homage to teen slasher films "Tormented" with the 1960 micro-budget ghost story "Tormented." The films are rather dissimilar, as you might imagine, so just be aware of what you're looking at. For my part, I'm going to be addressing the former. Jon Wright's slight story about bullying, teen alienation, and retribution amongst the students of a posh British academy is a perfectly serviceable little film. An attractive cast, playing mostly caricatures of social types, are plagued by a serial murderer who may have been pushed a little too far. Several of the key actors are likable enough and the film is well constructed, it just lacks a bit of originality when all is said and done. If you like a little thriller/comedy mash-up and you don't mind overly familiar plotting--you can do worse than "Tormented." I've just seen it too frequently before and oftentimes better. As is, though, this plays as a relatively tame and unsurprising entry in an overstuffed genre.
The film begins in the aftermath of a suicide. The young man who died is relatively unknown to head girl Justine (Tuppence Middleton), who nonetheless publicly speaks to the student populace about the tragedy. Attracting the attention of the cool kids, Justine is courted by Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas) to the disdain of the crowd's popular leader (Alex Pettyfer) and his bevy of it-girls. Justine is soon ignoring her old friends to be among high school royalty. But she soon uncovers that the dead boy was madly crushing on her (which she was completely oblivious to) and that her new group was mercilessly taunting him. When members of the elite start getting murdered, might it just be a vengeful spirit seeking retaliation for past injustices? And who will survive?
As I said, I didn't hate "Tormented." It is, however, fairly forgettable. The cast is game and easy on the eyes--with Middleton, Leonidas and Pettyfer turning in solid performances. I suspect many people will uncover this film as Alex Pettyfer is exploding with a couple of high profile roles in 2011, and he is an appealing villain. But, the whole bullying concept is trite, overused, and way too convenient. I wish writer Stephen Prentice had spent some time trying to distinguish "Tormented" from a hundred other similar films. About 2 1/2 stars for me based solely on the fact that it had zero surprise or novelty factor, it'll still pass the time in an inoffensive manner if you've got nothing better cooking. Lightweight and lacking imagination. KGHarris, 2/11