Thursday, September 6, 2012

''Vincent D' Onofrio gives a chilling performance in Jennifer Lynch's unsettling film''

By Sam Faulkner / Rating: 4/5

FrightFest 2012: Chained

A chilling and effective film from Jennifer Lynch, Chained tells the story of Tim, who is captured as a child along with his mother by a taxi-driving serial killer. The killer, Bob, murders Tim’s mother, before renaming him “Rabbit” and enslaving him as a sort of house servant-cum-apprentice, keeping him chained to the wall at all times. As Rabbit grows older, we see him begin to be taken in by Bob’s world, and witness events as the killer attempts to groom him into another monster.

The two leads in the film are the first aspect that must be congratulated – young Eamon Farren displays a vulnerable, desperate character with just enough edge to make certain scenes troubling, and Vincent D’Onofrio is simply magnificent as Bob. In his hands, the killer is more than just a creepy serial killer, being given an almost childlike fury that is brought to the surface regularly. The two combine to create an unsettling normality between the characters, with their bizarre situation feeling almost routine after just a few scenes.

This is a very emotional kind of horror, with little graphic violence shown. This film plays on the mind, with the worst of Bob’s atrocities happening off-screen, focusing more on the aftermath than anything else. One particularly blood-freezing scene sees the two characters playing a twisted game of Trumps with the driving licenses of slain women, and we realise that it is this kind of everyday mundaneness that gives the film its unsettling edge.

The film isn’t perfect of course, with the end feeling a little rushed – Lynch has mentioned that time constraints meant cuts had to be made, and that she hopes to produce a director’s cut. The events of the final act won’t work for everyone, bringing in some slightly rogue story elements, but this doesn’t derail the film too much.

An original, chilling and compelling take on the serial killer formula, Chained is a very accomplished piece of work indeed.

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