Written by Old Bluffer 29th May 2009
(read this writeup, there are no major spoilers and the film is a "must see" in our opinion)
This low budget British horror opens with a eulogy for a classmate being given by the Head Girl of the school. She recites various vaguely complimentary platitudes, before being interrupted by a hysterical geek who screams at her hypocrisy, as it is quite clear to him that she doesn't even remember the boy who died - one Darren Mullet.
So who was this boy, how did he die, and why doesn't she remember him?
Every school has a Darren Mullet - the socially awkward fat kid that attracts more bullies than a PE teacher has brain cells.
Poor young Mullet is massively overweight and suffers from chronic asthma, made worse by stressful situations - which is unfortunate as every day sees him get tormented with a juvenile cruelty only possible by school kids. Unaffectionately nicknamed "Shrek", he is physically beaten, by girls as well as boys, and regularly "happy slapped" with the footage published on a website dedicated to mocking him. Even out of school the victimisation continues with the wonders of modern technology. Text messages, picture messages and e-mails inflict pain on him 24 hours a day.
The only solace in his empty existence is Justine, the picture perfect Head Girl of the school. Delectably attractive and keenly intelligent, she is so out of his social ambit that she quite literally doesn't even notice him. Still, she gives him something to dream about, and it is a harmless crush - until he confides in his only friend, Jason, that is.
Jason is a stereotypical geek, made obvious by every aspect of his features, clothes, mannerisms and way of speaking (this is not intended to be a subtle film, and the archetypes are drawn with broad strokes to say the least). He also lives in fear of the bullies, and deflects pressure from himself by revealing that Shrek is in love.
The gang of bullies that abuse Mullet so are made up of the rich, fashionable Beautiful Things of the school. In America they would be called Jocks - but in England they are just the cool crowd (the word "jock" brings to mind someone like Groundskeeper Willie to us brits!) Sensing more entertainment from poor Shrek, they force him to approach his Dream Girl.
This proves to be the fateful moment of his short life. He knows he is being videoed on any number of phones, and his humiliation is guaranteed - but maybe, just maybe, Justine will be nice to him. She's not like the other cruel kids after all, she's Justine.
With a helpful shove from the bullies then, he stumbles forwards with all the grace of an arthritic sumo wrestler, and barges into her whilst she is on the phone. Exasperated, she calls him a creep without even looking.
His asthma immediately goes into overdrive, but the bullies perform their usual trick of stealing his inhaler. Completely helpless, he gasps for help from the only person likely to give it to him, in fact he begs for her help. She's on the phone about her University placement though and still hasn't deigned to glance at him. She impatiently tells him to leave her alone, and unwittingly provokes him to bitter, hateful suicide. He'd pinned all his hopes and fantasies on this girl, and in his moment of desperate need she did the one thing even more unforgiveable than bullying - she ignored him.
Now this may sound rather melodramatic, but he is a teenager and filled with even more angst than most. This public rejection pushes him over the edge and he hangs himself, leaving behind a note for Jason that declares his love for Justine, as well as his raging hatred at her indifference.
As Head Girl she gets given the job of performing his eulogy, and the guilt wracked Jason slates her for it. She still has no idea who Mullet was though, and won't realise until later in the film, when she sees the phone videos of herself and the bullies start dying...
Old Bluffer's Thoughts
This is quite a boring writeup, but necessary to set the scene for the many amusing and entertaining killings to follow. "Tormented" is a new film, and possibly not widely available outside of the UK - but fans of black comedy horrors simply must check it out, as it is extremely good.
All you need to know at this point of the film is that Mullet is going to come back from the grave, and we will be treated to various original death scenes featuring an obese zombie with an asthma inhaler. Believe me when I say this is just as great as it sounds.
I'll close for now by saying that I really enjoyed Calvin Dean's performance in this film. He is pretty much silent throughout, but you really feel sorry for the poor sod during the various videophone flashbacks that are revealed as the plot progresses. And as a hulking lump of asthmatic zombie he is just superb!