PLOT - Tim, a young nine-year old boy goes to the movies with his mother one day after being dropped off by his father. Taking his advice in splurging and getting a cab instead of taking a bus later that afternoon, they make the fatal mistake by getting into the wrong cab. Here the driver kidnaps them, driving them to his isolated farm house in the middle of nowhere. After murdering Tim's mother, he decides to keep Tim prisoner, by chaining him to a bunk, and forcing him to wait on him as well as cleaning up his messes. It seems that he's a serial killer who kidnaps, rapes, and murders women. Here Tim is beaten, traumatized, and forced to witness these graphic crimes. After years of being held captive, the man decides to teach Tim everything he knows, hoping to pass the torch down to him soon.
LOWDOWN - SPOILERS!!!
I think it's pretty clear that I love David Lynch. For years I've been a massive Twin Peaks fan girl, and have basically adored everything he's done. I'm also a huge fan of his daughter Jennifer Lynch who's a very talented director herself. In fact, I have early memories staying up late one night to watch in my eyes her masterpiece Boxing Helena on HBO. Instantly I felt I shouldn't be watching this movie, but even at the age of 11 or 12 I could understand the beauty behind it. First off massive Julian Sands fan. "swoon, memories!" as well as the absolutely stunning Sherilyn Fenn, who is of course iconic by her work by working with Jennifer's father as well. Boxing Helena was a very erotic film being obsession, hidden desires, and how honestly someone could become completely taken over by wanting to preserve the beauty and love of someone. I for one have always been a huge fan of this movie and have always stuck up for it. I get what Jennifer was trying to capture, and can't believe people didn't get her vision back then. Tonight I witnessed the second film I've ever watched by her. I'll admit, I'm guilty by not checking out more of her career. This is what Hollywood needs, more creative women who write and direct. Women who aren't afraid to show the gritty dirty side of people's life's and minds. Besides a few Walking Dead episodes she's directed, Boxing Helena was seriously all I had seen from her. In fact, there was a Boxing Helena reunion at Texas Frightmare where Lynch appeared at, and still to this day I'm kicking myself for not going to. I can only hope I'll get another chance, and this time be able to rave about this film as well.
I discovered Chained after noticing the very handsome Eamon Farren who plays Richard Horne in Twin Peaks The Return. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I'm very interested in this character since fan theories are flying that Richard is a result of Evil Mr. C and Audrey. I mean it makes sense, and he does look a lot like Audrey. I'm praying with 5 episodes left we get more light on who he is, and what his backstory is all about. So I looked up on the IMDB to see what this guy was in and instantly I saw Chained, and the fact it was directed by David's daughter Jennifer. Instantly I nabbed the film and decided to dive right in knowing nothing about the movie.
First off Jennifer does a brilliant job. This woman has such a great eye, and honestly captures the mid-western small town. We get actor Jake Weber in a brief but important role, as well as showing Farren's character at age nine with his mother. The tension starts off right away the second they get into that cab, and it passes the right exit. Like any horror movie, this seems like a complete nightmare since you honestly have to wonder..."What if this really happened?" This movie doesn't hold back on the violence. It's made to make the audience uncomfortable.
Vincent D' Onofrio plays Bob, the twisted driver who kidnaps Tim and his mother. These types of moments in a movie always make me pinned back to my seat. Here we witness how ugly and truly disturbed Bob is as he drags Tim's mother who clearly loves her son so much, leaving him in the cab parked inside the garage. Here Tim sits locked inside the back seat, frightened, and horrified as he listens to his mother's screams.
Here this poor nine year old boy gets taken into the house which is all bordered up and locked up tight. Here Bob explains that he didn't count on him being in the cab, but decides to make the best of it. Here he lays down some rules to this poor child who's terrified, and knows his mother has been murdered. Bob explains he'll stay in the house at all times. That he'll always be watching him. That he needs to stay out of his way, and clean up all of his messes. He tells him a signal on when to unlock the many locks on the back door which means he's bringing in a new victim. That he'll serve him, not steal, not fight back, and basically only eat what he's left over. Here we watch a twisted routine take hold. He cleans the house, and watches every few weeks as Bob returns from his late night cab rides, dragging in new young women before taking them into a room, raping, and murdering them. Here he teaches Tim how to bury the bodies in a small crawlspace that has a dirt basement. He's allowed to wear rags, sleep on a small bunk in the kitchen, and only eat left over cereal every morning. He's also forced to cut out news clippings of missing persons, since it appears no matter how many victims Bob has gotten, the police have no clue who's doing it.
When Tim (who's now nicknamed Rabbit) tries to escape, he finds the house is truly in the middle of nowhere, and Bob is in fact always watching. D' Onofrio does a killer job, mostly in the scene where he shows Tim a clipping that his father has re-married maybe a year or so after him and his mother originally went missing. He convinces him that his father has forgotten about him, and he can either keep trying to escape and lose his trust, or do as he's told. Here he chains him to a bunk where Tim is forced day after day to so chores, and continue cleaning up Bob's messes.
Flash forward to Tim now a young teen. Now played by Farren. It's shown he's a timid, skinny, frightened young boy who's been so abused by Bob he simply stays back in the shadows as these crimes still continue to happen. One night one of Bob's victims actually gets loose and begs a frightened Tim where she can escape before she's murdered before his very own eyes. Bob insists that Tim reads medical books, since he preaches that he wants him to learn something (almost acting like a father figure, and that Tim is his son.) for months Tim stays chained to the bunk and reads all these anatomy books, becoming lost in his own world. Still, he begins to show defiance by questioning on Bob kills all of these women and doesn't seem to show any sign of stopping. Here Bob decides he needs to get a taste of it. Not just having sex for the first time, but to kill. One night he brings in a drunk girl, and slits her throat right in front of Tim. Finally one night he unchains him, and teaches him the only way to earn his trust is to follow in his footsteps. Here he grabs a yearbook from he area and forces Tim to pick a young girl to be his first.
It's shown that Bob has a history of abusive. One day while he's actually doing his day job by driving his cab, he picks up a father and son and listens to them argue. Here he has flashbacks of the abusive he suffered under his own father. In another scene he lays in bed moaning, and it's shown in a very disturbing flashback that his father one night forced him to have sex with his mother while his younger brother watches. It's revealed why Bob is unstable, which shows why he has sexual and violent outbursts. We witness as clearly Tim is becoming unstable and hates the man who has kept him all these years. Finally the night comes where he brings in a young beautiful college student from the year book that Tim and him looked over. He hands him a knife, and leads them into a room. He tells him to have sex with her, and later kill her or he will. When Bob tries walking in, he witnesses Tim stab the young woman right in the side. Looking crazed he demands Bob leaves. Proud, Bob leaves and waits. Afterwards Tim drags the body to the crawlspace, and reveals himself covered in blood. He tells Bob he's ready to go hunting. Like a proud parent, Bob shows Tim respect, thinking he's finally a man, and like a father, gets him a chair, and explains that he'll go with him on his next hunt. Taking him in his cab, they ride around, and Bob tells him when they get home they will watch the movie of his first time. Instantly Tim panics, and Bob reveals he has cameras hidden in the house. That he hasn't watched the tape yet, but it's a rite of passage. That's when he notices that Tim wrote HELP in blood on the side of the cab. Furious, he races back home understanding that Tim can't be trusted.
Here it's revealed in a brilliant flashback that Tim never actually killed the girl. Thanks to all those medical books, he knew exactly where to stab her without actually killing her. He whispers to her that she can't make any noise, and he'll leave her in the crawlspace with some water while he tries to get help. In present time, Bob races into the house, knowing he wants to finish the job, and bursts into the crawlspace to get the girl. Luckily Tim gets there in time, and kills Bob. Here we see him nurse the girl back to health as well as discovering tons of letters that have been kept in Bob's trunk. Flash forward whatever amount of time later, he's tracked down his father all these years later who's remarried with a young son himself. At first his father doesn't recognize him. It's heartbreaking to witness this scene. Here it's quickly reveals in yet another mind blowing twist that all along Tim's father was actually Bob's younger brother. That he sent Bob a photograph of Tim and his mother, and wanted him to kidnap and kill them so he could break off all ties, re-marry, and stop worrying about money. This scene legit made me gasp and was floored over how violent it became. All along Tim's father was responsible for what happened. A product of abusive himself, he used his disturbed brother, to take care of these things and here it cost Tim his mother's life, but years of his childhood, and his own mental well being. When he tries to tell his dad he's going to tell everyone what he's done, his father becomes violent and tries to kill him. In self-defense he hits him over the head killing him as his frightened wife witnesses the whole thing (maybe being abused herself) After hearing the horrible thing her husband did, and seeing this happen, she tells Tim to get out of there and dials 911 and says she's the one who accidentally kills her husband. The last haunting shot shows Tim returning to his uncle's house where he's been held captive all these years. It's left to make you wonder...did Tim finally break free? Or will be follow in his family's footsteps. We can only hope for the best.
This brilliantly written and directed movie left be floored. The acting was amazing, and this was a smartly crafted script. I can't recommend it enough to anyone, and hands down one of the best movies I've seen this year!