Page 1 of 3
This piece of torture porn starring Vincent D'Onofrio is often intriguing, but ultimately way too brutal for its own good....
Anchor Bay / 94 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: October 2, 2012
Jennifer Lynch's Chained is brutally masochistic - for pretty much ninety straight minutes, its audiences is tethered to its myopic world of slavery, murder, and fear. Call it Saw for shut-ins. Yet while Lynch continues to evolve in intriguing ways as a filmmaker (her 2008 thriller Surveillance was also a flawed but immersive head trip), Chained never seems to amount to much. It keeps hitting the same notes again and again without evolving or developing its narrative in any major way.
What we have here is a nice, upstanding fella named Bob (Vincent D'Onofrio), who makes a living as a cab driver, but really finds his passions in being a serial killer. As our story here begins, he picks up a woman and her young son in the cab, murders the lady and takes the kid - who he now calls Rabbit - as his personal servant and student. Over the coming years, Bob teaches Rabbit about the intricacies and pleasures of murder, while Rabbit cooks Bob's food and tries to be a good boy.
It goes without saying after a synopsis like this one that Chained really isn't all that much fun to watch. D'Onofrio has been one of our great actors for a while, and he dives into his role here hook, line, and sinker, but the intense, horrific violence at Chained's dark center doesn't offer anything meditative or profound to its viewers. There are horror-movie cliches that work all right in it - Lynch is making herself out to be a chiseled, gritty genre filmmaker - but Chained doesn't quite make the case for its brutal subject matter. One wonders what the point of the whole thing is.