Review: Scorned / Cert: 18 / Director: Mark Jones / Screenplay: Mark Jones, Sadie Katz / Starring: AnnaLynne McCord, Billy Zane, Viva Bianca / Release Date: Out Now
As the expression goes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And with this movie, Mark Jones, writer/director of Leprechaun and Rumpelstiltskin, brings that saying firmly to life. Co-written by Jones and former-partner-now-writing-partner Sadie Katz, the film sees Sadie (McCord) and Kevin (Zane) as a couple in love, with Sadie telling her bestest friend Jennifer (Bianca) that she believes her one-true will propose to her in the coming days. Unbeknownst to the slightly unhinged Sadie, her beau and her bestest are secretly getting up to the horizontal hustle. How this dirty deed is revealed is that Sadie finds some slightly inappropriate text messages on Kevin’s phone, including various “magic pussy” and “I wanna B inside U” efforts. Ah, the joys of modern technology, no?
So, with her world shattered, Sadie takes the standard, rational approach of drugging her partner, tying him up, texting her best friend (pretending to be Kevin, of course), arranging some sexy rendezvous time, and then proceeding to torture both parties in some twisted ways that she believes may salvage her relationship. Added to this, in a convenient plot point, it’s revealed that Sadie has previous convictions for being a just a tad unhinged.
Scorned is a relatively unique revenge ride that feels almost as if it should’ve been released in the mid-'90s; it has a few moments that attack the senses but overall delivers what could be called safe scares. Scorned does have elements of tension – in particular, one scene involving a dog and a microwave will have you holding your breath – but it generally holds back on the blood 'n’ guts of torture porn entries like Hostel, deciding to focus on slowly built, uneasy-to-watch moments of anticipation of what may be about to be unleashed on the adultery-committing Kevin and Jennifer.
Central to Scorned is the performance of AnnaLynne McCord as the deranged, “scorned” Sadie. At times you fear that her portrayal could come off as just a little too over-the-top and glassy-eyed, but McCord generally keeps things on the right side of farcical and camp. Alongside her, Viva Bianca does a decent enough job but Billy Zane struggles to bring anything noteworthy to the table bar looking like a rather large shell of his former self.
It all amounts to a fun and initially well-paced low-budget thriller, although it does seem to drag and stagnate a little in the middle third as Sadie looks to torment those who have wronged her, and there are a few plot-holes throughout. The movie also isn’t helped by a soundtrack that sounds like the wailings of an angsty 13-year-old girl. Overall, though, the moral of the story is to never cross a woman... or at least to always remember to delete your text messages.