Written by Marcus D. Spencer and Eduardo Castrillo and directed by Marcus D. Spencer, ‘Tormented Revenge’ is a feature length thriller that stars Znai Brown, Marcus D. Spencer, Lyric Hobbs and Lillian Hunter.
The film finds an up and coming model Kendra (played by Znai Brown) arriving on an audition for a photographer who has a reputation for launching the careers of young girls. However, this photographer is secretly known for having another far more sinister reputation as well. Kendra is aware of this and she has not come for just another audition but rather, this is all a part of a carefully curated plan that would see Kendra turning the tables on the predator. As the night sets in and the plan gets in motion, both Bobby and Kendra will find themselves in the fight of their lives.
Certifiably dark, Tormented Revenge is a glorious revenge thriller that takes the audience to unexpected places. There is a mesmerising darkness in the film and Spencer has done a wonderful job bringing this to life. The lifeblood of any good film are its story and characters and Spencer seems to have taken his sweet time to ensure both of these aspects work perfectly in tandem. The back and forth between Kendra and Bobby once Kendra finds herself in control is fascinating to watch.
Photographers taking advantage of young models has always happened in the industry, in one shape or another. Thus, a story based on this central premise could have fallen into a pitfall of cliches and mediocrity if it had been done by the book. This is more so the case here as countless films exploring the conflict between sexual predators and prey have been made. However, this is where the similarities end. Not only does Spencer manage to create a highly engaging story in this regard, the story has several original twists that take it to unexpected places. Therefore, Spencer’s film puts its foot to the gas from the start and doesn’t let go until the very end.
In regards to the actors and their work here, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that most of the cast manages to impress. Marcus D. Spencer is great as the photographer Bobby who looks harmless from the outside but is deftly hiding a terrible secret beyond his facade. To most, Bobby would be the friendly workplace photographer but Kendra knows his man’s evils inside out. Spencer nails his part perfectly and he could have fooled almost everyone with his carefully curated public presence.
While Spencer is fantastic, Znai Brown also delivers a fascinating performance. Brown dives into her character completely and is barely recognizable for the entire duration of the film. Focusing on her character’s stunning transformation into a force for revenge, Brown makes her turn both raw and believable. It is fascinating to see how easily Brown is able to convince the audience of the dark turn taken by her character. Coming away from the film, I found Brown’s performance to be most memorable and it would not be surprising to see her make it big in the industry in the coming years.
Considering the budget, some viewers might be perplexed by some of the creative choices made. The good thing here is that makers were not hindered by the low budget and instead made a film that feels more expensive than it is in reality. The team seems to have succeeded massively in this aspect.
While the story is good and the acting is great, it is in the technical aspects that the production shows its true merits. First up is the cinematography that complements the dark nature of the story perfectly. Utilising the eternal mystery of shadows and dim light, the visual department has outdone itself here. As the potential victim turns tables on her predator, the dim cinematography takes note of this sudden grim turn. With the victim now in the driver’s seat and her torture games becoming more severe, the lighting in the film similarly takes a dark visual turn. The mysterious opening credits are also impressive as they set the tone for the entire film. Deftly combining exterior shots of the city with pulsating music, the credits set the scene for the odyssey of pain and suffering that is to descend upon one unlucky man.
Equally impressive is the sound mixing and sound design that transports the audience right into the middle of this sick game of life and death. In addition, the narrative pacing remains razor sharp as well. Spencer ensures that no moment is lost in pointless exposition and whatever remains part of the film is absolutely essential. As a result, the pacing is perfect for a razor sharp thriller. Character building moments aside, the film barrels from one flashpoint to the next, with the audience along for the ride. The eighty minute runtime flashes by and not one second feels out of place in the slightest. There is even a mind blowing twist towards the very end, one that upends the whole film and leaves the viewer totally blindsided. Therefore, Tormented Revenge is a potent revenge film that has great characters coupled with good direction. As far as revenge thrillers go, the film manages to punch above its weight and works as a tightly oiled and potently paced saga that is beyond impressive.