Newlyweds Cory and Sarah Morgan take Cory's 7-year old son Liam up to the country for some much needed family time. When it appears as if Liam has run away, all is not as it seems. Psychological suspense becomes straight-out horror as Sarah and Cory must now confront a sadistic cult-like family who have been hiding in the house all along and will lead them to a terrifying discovery.
Corey (Robin Dunne) and his new wife Sarah (Katharine Isabelle) move into a fairly isolated house, with Corey’s son Liam. Sadly, little Liam (Peter DaCunha) resents Sarah because he misses his mother, which is understandable. However, as is so very often the case, scenes with a minor acting in a brattish and petulant fashion immediately causes audience rankles to rise. Corey’s endeavours to ‘understand’ the child make me wish he’d just wallop the little sod and cause me to become irritated by his ineffectuality (“Promise me you’ll give her a chance, boss,” he implores more than once). From the very beginnings of ‘Torment’ I find this a big hurdle to overcome.
One night, after hearing some noises around the house, they find Liam is missing. Instead of celebrating, they call the police. Thus begins another in the sub-genre known as ‘home invasion’, where the calm and comfort of home is forcibly interrupted by some nightmarish killer or other. As a sub-genre, its immediate limitations mean any film to fall under this category is virtually guaranteed to be surprise-free.
This doesn’t mean such projects cannot succeed as horror films if they are well done. And thankfully when the often silent invaders strike, dressed in tatty animal head-pieces things liven up. For even though their features are masked, they are more interesting than the remaining two bastions of ‘family’.
As the opening quote indicates (“When one has not had a good father, one must create one” – Nietzsche), it is the concept of ‘family’ that tries to propel this story. Just as Sarah is given the thrilling prospect of adding further children to Corey’s litter, the barely-glimpsed mutants are looking for their own ‘new’ mothers and fathers to add to their clan. That such a perfunctory thriller results from this, should we then be heart-warmed when, (spoiler) after Corey has been killed and Sarah has been repeatedly beaten, munchkin Liam finally ‘forgives’ his new mother and decides she isn’t so bad after all? Personally, I would have been more satisfied if the little twerp had somehow been behind the horrific events.