Movie Review: "Chained" (2012)
I try to plumb the depths of the lesser-known films out there for gems. Some of them I have reviewed before; the one that comes to mind by comparison is the superb Australian shocker, Hounds of Love. These 2 movies could be kissing cousins (given some of the scenes in this movie I almost regret saying that).
I scored this one off of Shudder, which is the Netflix of horror. If you don't have it you should. I'll stay off the soapbox, but I'm looking out for your taste for all things fucked up. I'm here for you.
Chained stars one of my personal favorites, Vincent D'Onofrio (Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket, Detective Robert Goren from Law & Order, Criminal Intent) as Bob, a cab-driving serial killer with some Mommy issues and a taste for pretty ladies. Bob hunts from his cab. When Bob decides to take a young mother he also gets the 9-year old son in the bargain. Bob isn't one to pass up an opportunity, so he makes the boy his personal housekeeper/companion/slave......for the rest of his life! He names him "Rabbit" and proceeds to make him an unwitting accomplice.
Rabbit (Eamon Farron of the new incarnation of Twin Peaks) grows up well-trained but understandably conflicted with his new serial-killer "Dad". He sees all the things you'd hope to never see. He helps with the cleanup and burial. He eats whatever food Bob has left over. He even plays a bizarre form of cards with drivers licenses of Bob's victims. It's some dark shit. Over time Rabbit grows to be a man and is viewed differently by Bob. That's where things start to get truly dark.
That's where this movie really wins, for me. Good psychological horror should make you get inside your own head and ask what you would do in that situation. It should make you not just uncomfortable but extremely uncomfortable. If you're not disturbed then what is the point? It's not shock value for the sake of it; it's making you truly ask "what if....?"
D'Onofrio is pretty damn nasty in this one, equal parts animal cunning and empty-headed, damaged creature. Farron does an excellent job of wearing his trauma like a second skin. Director Jennifer Lynch (of the shamefully underseen Surveillance) skillfully shows you a lot that you don't want to see without making it gratuitous or sleazy. That's no small feat. Then she pulls the damn rug out from under your feet in the last 10 minutes that lends a crazy believability to the whole thing in a totally unbelievable way. Bra-fucking-vo!!
I can't recommend this one enough to those of you with a fairly strong stomach for the uncomfortable. If you have triggers then stay the fuck away. This ain't for you!