Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Bonus Review: Her Name Was Torment (2014)

I've known of writer/director/madman Dustin Wayde Mills since seeing the irreverent and enjoyable The Puppet Monster Massacre at Dead By Dawn a few years ago. Since then I have discovered that the man likes to try and be prolific as he is warped. For fans who can get on his wavelength, that can only be a good thing.

Her Name Was Torment is a very nasty piece of work, only to be recommended to those with strong stomachs. No, that's not a challenge. That's the truth. A short runtime, only about 50 minutes, helps to make the whole thing more endurable, as does the smart editing, and the fact that it's a black and white movie.

The slight plot concerns a woman (Allison Egan) who is being interviewed by an offscreen doctor (Mills) after she has been declared unfit to stand trial for multiple murders that she committed. The victims were mutilated so badly that identifying them has been virtually impossible. What would make her commit such atrocities? Well, luckily for the viewers (sort of), the film decides to show just how this woman tortured one of her victims. There's a lot of mutilation, "fun" with teeth and nails, a bit of necrophilia, and more.

And that's all there is to it. Actually, not really. There is an interesting layer to the movie that provides further motivation for the main character, but to say any more would be spoiling things for viewers. Suffice it to say, Mills actually does well to build up what could have been a paper-thin excuse for gore and torture into something with a hint of intrigue and thoughtfulness. It even has a little kicker at the very end that should leave viewers with a wry grin.

There are one or two other people onscreen (including Brandon Salkil as the unfortunate victim), but it's really only necessary to talk about Egan. Perhaps helped by being able to hide behind a mask, perhaps deciding to trust completely in her director, or most likely a bit of both, Egan gives a pretty fearless performance, featuring nudity, violence and some required fake necrophilia (I know I already mentioned necrophilia, but it's always worth mentioning again, right?).

If you're a fan of the more extreme kind of horrors that some people irritatingly continue to label "torture porn" then you should lap up what Mills provides. It may not be as nasty as Red Room, it's not as polished and padded as something like Hostel, but this is a lean, mean movie made on a budget that probably wouldn't cover the cost of waxing Eli Roth's forearms. And, yes, I somehow thought that last sentence would end this view on a note of recommendation.


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