Chained (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/02/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Impressively directed and superbly written, this is a chilling, thought-provoking horror movie with a pair of terrific performances by Vincent D'Onofrio and newcomer Eamon Farren.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jennifer Lynch, Chained stars Vincent D'Onofrio as taxi-driving serial killer Bob, who kidnaps a mother (Julia Ormond as Sarah) and her young son (Evan Bird) in the opening scenes. After brutally killing the boy's mother, Bob imprisons the boy in his isolated house, naming him Rabbit and raising him as his own, treating him largely like a slave.

Years pass and Rabbit (now played by Eamon Farren) turns into a gangly teenager, who becomes Bob's de facto protégé, granted the right to study physiology along with various other freedoms, such as no longer being chained to the house. And when Bob brings home a young woman (Conor Leslie) for Rabbit, he's expected to follow in his ‘father's’ footsteps. But will he go through with it or has he secretly been plotting some form of escape?

The Good
Vincent D'Onofrio is terrific, delivering a powerful and chilling performance that really gets under your skin, not least because he doesn't portray Bob as an outright monster, even if he's never exactly sympathetic (though a series of brief but effective flashbacks suggest Bob is himself the product of a disturbing childhood). Newcomer Eamon Walker is equally good as Rabbit, adopting a haunted, blank-faced expression that is both riveting and unsettling, since you're never quite sure what he's thinking (indeed, the expression itself could have evolved as a coping mechanism for his day-to-day life with Bob).

Lynch's direction is assured throughout, rejecting the temptations of torture porn and keeping the murders largely offscreen for the most part; this is doubly effective, as the horrific sounds ensure that the audience imagines the worst anyway. In addition, Lynch generates an atmosphere fraught with nail-biting tension as we wait for Rabbit to either attempt to escape or show us a glimpse of remaining humanity.

The Great
The nature vs nurture themes of the script are both intriguing and provocative and Lynch pulls off a handful of inspired moments that are utterly devastating, such as the brutal cut that sweeps away Rabbit's entire childhood in one fell swoop (when Farren takes over from Bird).

That said, the film is slightly let down by a rushed and convoluted ending that's full of unnecessary and ultimately frustrating twists, though that doesn't detract from the film's overall impact.

Worth seeing?
Chained is a powerful and disturbing horror flick with a terrific central performance from Vincent D'Onofrio. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Chained (18)
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Content updated: 17/10/2017 17:54

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