NOVEMBER 20, 2007
“It’s bad enough to accept a musician in this family, but a jazz musician is just asking too damn much!”
You gotta hand it to George Yates, writing a film around his desire to slam jazz musicians. That has to be the film’s reason for existing, because otherwise Tormented is pretty pointless, and even at 75 minutes, feels padded and repetitive.
Much like Hands of a Stranger, we have a musician who has murderous intent toward a little kid. Except at least in that movie, he totally killed the kid. We’re not so lucky here. That said, the finale is still pretty grand, but it’s a chore to get that far, since the rest of the movie is just a never ending cycle of the guy thinking he sees the ghost of his mistress (who doesn’t want him to marry some other bland n’ blond woman), only to discover that it’s just a plant or something. I expect more from Bert Gordon, who also bestowed upon us Amazing Colossal Man.
The film also offers us one of the most puzzlingly useless lines ever uttered: “There’s a light in the lighthouse!” They seem pretty excited and surprised by it, whereas I tend to get pretty blasé about things doing the one thing they exist to actually do. Maybe I should rethink my position on the matter, and start walking around exclaiming things like “That clock is telling the time!” and “That Mr. Coffee made coffee!”
I’d also like to point out that the film print itself seems to be haunted, as quite a few times during the film we see a gray shadow moving across the image, as if someone was walking in front of the projector in a theater. Spooky. Or lazy.
To be fair it’s not a total waste. The ghost effects are pretty impressive given the time period and obvious low budget, and as said, the finale is pretty awesome (I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say that it’s probably the only ‘happy’ ending in history that involves some folks drowning). Sort of a mixed bag I guess.
What say you?