CHAINED (2012): The Homicidal Maniac’s Apprentice

The relationship between master and apprentice is held in the strictest of confidence. When a young novice learns the craft of his elders it isn’t often that we get to watch how the lessons are taught; what the tests entail and what rite of passage transcends the guild relationship. Chained from Director Jennifer Lynch is a chance to look inside that relationship. It’ll punch you and make you feel like that rose colored glass world we oft live in just ain’t there at all. It’s vicious, and yet it’s not gratuitous (at least not since a certain scene was cut to bring the NC-17 down to an R rating).  Get ready to be enter the mind of a madman in a very unique way.

From Anchor Bay:

Coming home from a routine trip to the movies, eight-year-old Tim and his mother, Sarah are picked up by a psychopathic cab driver named Bob. It ends up being their last ride together. Bob murders the young boy’s mother and keeps Tim as hi unwilling protégée., make him clean up the mess following each murder he commits. After a couple of aborted escape attempts, Bob chains Tim – now renamed Rabbit – allowing just enough length to move freely with in the house. As the years pass, Bob starts instructing Rabb, teaching him slowly being pressed by Bob to start his own homicidal spree. Slowly but surely, he must soon choose whether to follow in Bob’s serial killer footsteps or make one final, desperate attempt to break free.

I’m a bit bored with the psychopathic killer subgenre. They’re always based in some reality that might very well exist in middle of America. I’ve grown weary of picking up movies that have the “based on a true story”/”based on true events” label. Their stories seem to be identical following a predictable path of kill by number and psychoanalysis that leaves me bored, feeling dirty and wanting my two hours back. You seen one, you seen ‘em all. I don’t feel that way about Lynch’s newest effort. While it plays on some typical elements in the psychopath “for real” story, it isn’t based on a true story and it focuses on the relationship between a killer, his near victim and pupil. What I like about Chained is that it isn’t obvious and contains elements of surprise even though it tends to run a fairly predictable course. No spoilers here people, but you’ll probably see where it’s going even though, like every friggin’ movie that comes out today, there’s a twist.

Chained is dark when it needs to be and feels real which is due to the exquisite acting of Vincent D’Onofrio. He can do no wrong in my eyes and plays a very real killer. His vocal performance and overall demeanor will haunt you all the way curbside as you hail that next taxi. The cast fulfills the promise that accomplished veterans, horror and non-horror can when given excellent direction. You’ll get a nice performance from Julia Ormand. You’ll get a heartened effort from Eric Bird. It’s a solid cast that is able to convey this films ultimate message: there’s the chain straps you down and then there’s the bond established by the linkage that defines a chain.

Now this isn’t a horror movie. I’ve been seeing quite a few flicks getting the horror tag especially when their release date is close to Halloween. Chained doesn’t play the horror card and relies on its thriller, psychological image (reverse those two descriptors for one of my pet peeves). I haven’t seen Surveillance, but from what my cohorts in crime at the Liberal Dead tell me, it’s a movie to watch, rewatch and to let get under your skin. I’ll give the same recommendation to folks for Chained for people looking for a story of relationships and not blood, guts and gore. It’s disturbing, but it’s not at the cost of the dignity of any actor or actress. This isn’t the next rape/revenge flick. This is student, teacher… this is morality and survival.

Chained is available October 2 on Blu Ray Combo Pack and DVD. Fans of Jennifer Lynch need apply (remember Boxing Helena?… yikes!). Pick it up HERE.

-Dr. TERROR

PS. You can catch that deleted scene that took it from NC-17 back down to an R rating in the bonus material if you’re feeling like a sick-o which is only natural since you’re on this site.

 

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About Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy Terror, more commonly known as James P. Harris, has been “writing your eyes” shut since 2010 with his horror themed blog, Dr. Terror’s Blog of Horrors (whose name is a play on words derived from the Amicus film, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors). In the early 2000’s he fronted the band The Vaudeville Vampires, a short-lived "Horrorabilly" band which saw the creation of a catalog of horror related songs before disbanding (with only one, six song demo ever being produced and distributed). He has had only one on screen appearance to date in the horror short, Ocean Parkway, as maniacal, gloved killer with a hair fetish. Having done some un-credited, behind the scenes work in some low budget genre pictures, he is currently working on his first foray into screenwriting with a demonic, retro gore entry that pays homage to Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento as well as other Italian masters of the genre.
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