Review: Chained / Director: Jennifer Lynch / Screenplay: Damian O'Donnell, Jennifer Lynch / Starring: Vincent D'Onofrio, Eamon Farren, Evan Bird, Jake Weber, Julia Ormond / UK Release Date: TBC / US Release Date: October 22nd (DVD/Blu-ray)
Chained is an unsettling horror picture that, with the dark shape of the world we’re in, could be the headline story of tomorrow’s news.
We start out with the Fitters, a happy family where the father, Brad (Weber), is a hard working man putting food on the table and a roof over his wife Sarah (Ormond) and their young son Tim’s (Bird) heads. Mom decides to take Tim to the movies to see an animated film, but 9-year-old Tim persuades her to see a horror/slasher flick instead. A foreshadowing of things to come. Afterwards, they catch a ride home with a taxi driver named Bob (D’Onofrio), and it’s here the real horror begins.
Taken to an isolated home in the middle of nowhere, Sarah is beaten and killed off screen as Tim shudders helplessly in utter terror. A bloodied Bob comes back into the room and tells him, “She’s never coming back. Get used to it.”
Tim is rechristened Rabbit and becomes Bob’s manservant/slave to do his bidding. His first job is to dispose of his mother’s remains. A feeble attempt at escape earns young Rabbit a chain around his leg where he is imprisoned in the house for the next few years. As Bob continues his murder spree collecting newspaper clippings of the missing women, their driver’s licenses and cash as trophies, Rabbit is forced to do all the dirty clean up work. Any protests or mistakes; he’s given a beating.
Bob becomes a demented, evil surrogate father to an emaciated, older Tim/Rabbit (Australian actor Eamon Farron) who has been only allowed to eat what leftovers Bob hasn’t finished. His schooling consists only of books on the human anatomy and the psychology of people he’s been given to by Bob.
A serial killer in training via brainwashing.
Now in his late teens, Rabbit has gained Bob’s trust, unshackling him hoping to take over his “father’s business” as he begins to ride along beside Bob in the taxi picking up unsuspecting fares. It’s here Rabbit must make the choice to either end up like Bob or to break free.
Jennifer Lynch has made an unsettling horror film that stays with you well after its viewing has shattered the boundaries of one’s comfort zone. Her use of on and off screen violence impacts the viewer with raw emotion. An uneasy, claustrophobic look credited to DP Shane Daly highlights the film’s images and an excellent sound crew adds momentum to the uneasy tension.
Co-written by Lynch and Damian O’Donnell, the tale is intricately weaved with layers and an unexpected O.Henry ending. But, it’s the interaction between the brilliantly creepy D’Onofrio and Farror that really sticks with you. Farror’s silent reactions through his eyes to D’Onofrio’s menacing vocal teachings are powerful. They’re a dynamic force of Yin and Yang together that light up the screen. See this film, but don’t see it alone.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10