I have only seen a couple of director Jennifer Lynch's movies — yes, she's David's daughter — and for me, she's hit and miss. Chained is definitely a miss. There's really nothing wrong with the film… in fact, it's very well acted and the dimly-lit, grimy, grainy loathsome feel that pervades each and every frame is certainly germane to the subject matter, but… I don't like the subject matter. I am really tired of depressing, bleak horror movies about people being held captive and tortured. (That said, I am rather looking forward to the premiere of Marcus Dunstan's The Collection.)
Here's the basic set-up for Chained: Sarah (Julia Ormond) and her nine year old son Tim (Evan Bird) are taken hostage by a crazy cab driver named Bob (Vincent D'Onofrio). Horrible things are done to them… they soon find out they are not Bob's first victims and nor will they be the last. Bob takes an unusual liking to Tim, whom he rechristens "Rabbit". By and by, the boy grows up (now played by Eamon Farren) and we watch as Bob and tries to turn the kid to evil, exploring the question: Are serial killers born, or can they be made? With Rabbit chained on only 20 feet of space in which to roam about Bob's bleak, musty hovel, he learns to seduce, slay and secret the bodies away.
The film reveals a tawdry and tedious assembly line of victims until finally something happens towards the end, turning the horror film into a thriller. But by then, the twist is just barely welcome. I appreciated the somewhat jarring conclusion at the time, but in retrospect as I think about it, it's too out of place and doesn't gel with the otherwise somber tone of the proceedings.
Special features include commentary and an alternate scene.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson