Home invasion movies are as common as a cold, and while there is much versatility to be found within the genre, there are plenty of entries that follow a very specific and just as familiar formula. This would come to be the case with Jordan Baker’s Torment (2013), a Canadian lensed home invasion film that follows newlyweds Cory and Sarah (Robin Dunne and Katharine Isabelle) as they head to a secluded vacation home deep within the woods. With Cory’s 7-year-old son Liam (Peter DaCunha) in tow, the couple hope to break the tension between Sarah and the young Liam, who is struggling with the idea of his father being remarried after the death of his biological mother.
This is the first time that Cory and Liam are visiting their old vacation home since Liam’s mother’s passing. This immediately brings about a lot of emotional problems for Liam, which he all too easily takes out on Sarah in a fashion that is offensively obnoxious. While dealing with an emotionally unstable child is more than enough for both Cory and Sarah to deal with, things get all the more complicated once it is discovered that squatters have been staying in the house.
Such a discovery greatly upsets Sarah, who no longer feels safe staying in the house. However, after much persuasion by Cory and a visit from a local police officer, Sarah is reassured enough to spend a night in the house. As you’d expect, however, Sarah’s first instincts were correct, as soon their little getaway is turned upside down when Liam goes missing, and the couple comes under attack by a group of masked lunatics. What ensues is a night of true terror, as each family member is forced to face various horrific situations while fighting for their survival.
Once the home invasion begins, Torment presents a few good scares and moments of genuine tension, but that tension is never prolonged due to the overall predictability of the story. From moment one, it’s frustratingly clear where the film is going to next, as each beat is easy to spot well before it hits. Regardless of a handful of impressive performances (specifically from Katharine Isabelle), the characters and their familial issues reek of familiarity. Even the antagonists feel like cookie cutter home invasion killers, adorned with animal masks and an ambiguous motivation best described as pedestrian.
Outside of being technically well-crafted, one of the few aspects of Torment that makes it a tolerable watch is that it’s incredibly short, coming in at less than 80 minutes. Regardless, the film still feels a little drawn out at times, though this is clearly due to the fact that it’s just so damn predictable. Again, it’s the lack of originality that makes Torment such an uninteresting movie to watch and, for the sake of this review, even write about. It’s tough to crap all over a movie that is, at the very least, serviceable, but on the other hand, there is nothing about Torment that inspires me to put too much effort into peeling back the layers, because they simply aren't there to peel.