It's the first few days of 2010 (feels weird to write it), and I should probably be looking forward. But it so happened that my first movie of 2010 was something that didn't get nearly enough love or attention in 2009: the entirely fascinating British horror film Tormented, available for a couple more weeks On Demand from IFC Films. Fans of thoughtful, multifaceted horror should give it a try.
Part of the problem may have been that the most obvious way to describe the plot of the film makes it sound ass-boring: bullied kid commits suicide, proceeds to haunt his tormentors from beyond the grave. But the actual premise is quite a bit subtler and more interesting. The movie opens with Justine (the lovely Tuppence Middleton), Oxford-bound Head Girl at a wealthy English boarding school, giving a clearly well-intentioned eulogy for the dead kid. But we then quickly learn a few key facts: (1) Justine doesn't actually remember who Darren was; (2) he was completely and utterly in love with her; (3) his suicide note cites her bullying as the last straw -- a shock to the smart, pretty girl who wouldn't hurt a fly, and didn't even know the kid. Meanwhile, Justine is courted by a charming member of the popular crowd (Dmitri Leonidas), who seems nice enough, but is apparently in thrall to the school's king of the bullies (Alex Pettyfer), and may have played a role in the events that drove Darren to end his life.