Also known as The Possession of David O’Reilly, this was championed by Hughes on his little horror thread over on Lists and Top Tens (for those of you that have never visited the rather fine thread). The Torment was damned impressive. This is an intelligent, deep and hard hitting horror that goes straight for the chill factor almost instantly. It is also a slow burner, but it certainly burns bright. My main issue is the tagline on the front “Based on true events” as this took away some of the scare factor because you know in your head what is really happening due to the fact its true. That said, The Torment is a well delivered shocker that uses elements of films like Hellraiser and Event Horizon to powerful effect.
David has recently split with his girlfriend Sarah after finding pictures of her naked, however he did not take them. His best mate Alex and girlfriend Ana take him in and try to help him get his life back on track. All is not well tho, and David has recently started seeing creatures hanging around outside the flat, he can hear them talking, and he can sense them getting closer. David starts by putting salt down in the doorways hoping to stop these horrific mutants getting in, but its not working. Just to add to the problems, they only come at night, and for the minute, its only he who can see them. Finding his friend up most nights, or even sleepwalking with a knife, Alex soon starts to believe that what David is saying is true. This leads to some rather unsettling scenes where David, Alex and Ana tip toe around their flat, in the dark waiting for David to explain where the monsters are and their intentions.
Is it all in Davids head, or not? Thats the big question, and you could be forgiven for thinking Alex and Ana are just stupid to go along with it. BUT, this is one of the many levels where this film really works. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine your best mate, who has been sane his entire life, is staying with you and is adamant their is something trying to get in. You would, eventually, go along with it. You may not quite believe it, but you would certainly start to think something is seriously wrong and you would get increasingly scared. As it happens at night, and some fucker keeps turning off the lights, the majority of the scares are in the dark with very little light. This makes the monsters incredibly scary, and there are a few genuine jump out of your seat moments. Not to go into too much detail, there is a wonderful scene involving the pregnant upstairs neighbour and some newspapers. It will get your brain working into overdrive to try and figure just what the hell is going on.
The performances are pretty good for unknowns, although at times its terribly amateurish, but it doesn’t take away any of the films power. One other thing that really stood out as a fantastic idea was the sudden Point Of View moments. Every now and then the camera switches to one of the characters and see’s what they see. There’s no warning, and one moment actually freaked me out until i realised just what was happening. Alex was about to leave the flat, then suddenly Ana and David are talking to him, but everytime the camera pans back to where Alex was stood, he’s not there! Have they all gone made and are imagining he’s there? Bugger, he IS there, and we are now his eyes! Its a genius move as it adds some real madness to the film.
The Torment is basic, much like Hellraiser was. There’s no more than five characters, its all filmed in the same flat, the story is strong and involving, and the scares are simple, subtle affairs, and often there is no build up. Hardly any music is used to add to the effects or tension. This is as stripped down as horror gets, and is all the better for it. It’ll scare, it’ll delight, it’ll get you thinking. I’m still pondering over the last scene, but i daren’t mention it just yet. Seriously, Hughes wasn’t wrong in recommending this, and i hate to say it, but the King of Horrors (he wishes) was actually right!