Director: Mark Jones
Cast: AnnaLynne McCord, Billy Zane, Viva Blanca
Plot: Sadie (McCord) discovers her boyfriend (Zane) is cheating on her with her best friend (Blanca) and prepares a weekend of bloody revenge.
Two duds in a row. Man, I need a win soon for B Movie Wednesdays just to keep my sanity up.
The biggest problem with the success of movies like Saw is that the boundaries were pushed so far, that we could argue they no longer even exist. This is how we end up with movies like Scorned, which takes the premise of Hard Candy (which was a truly spectacular psychological thriller), and dumbs it down, so it is about a cheating couple getting their comeuppance. Sadie discovers her boyfriend and best friend are sleeping together, so she concocts a weekend where she has free reign to take her anger out on the two of them. Cue her boyfriend being drugged and smashed on the head, waking up to being tied to a bed and having his phone used to invite Jennifer, his bit on the side, over. Sadie imprisons them and begins acting out various horrifying means of torture on them, starting with the cutting of the hair and ending with several bones being broken. It gets particularly gruesome and the lack of proper characterisation just hurts the whole affair. The only thing this movie has going for it is to watch how far Sadie is willing to go to punish the pair of them for cheating. That gets old quick, especially when the movie just gets plain uncomfortable to watch.
The worst thing with Mark Jones’ direction is that we are never quite sure who we are meant to be supporting. These movies work best, when your sympathies keep switching, depending on where we are with the characters’ arcs. For example, Hard Candy made us begin to side with a suspected paedophile (no easy feat for any writer), before making us begin to see the point the torturer had up her sleeve. However, Jones paints everyone as a bad guy, so we are unsure of who we want to make it out of the situation alive. Billy Zane’s boyfriend figure is the offending cheater, yes, and before the torturing starts, he does deny his affair up until it is all out in the open. Jennifer is kept outside of the story, until she is lured into a trap, so it is difficult to get a read on her character. It is another weak side to the story – if we were given some reasoning into why she is sleeping with her best friend’s lover, then we might have seen her as the hero of the story. But as a result, this just leaves AnnaLynne McCord’s scorned woman as our hero, and she is the foulest of the lot. We might begin to start feeling sorry for her, but even before we begin learning a bit about her messy history, we don’t particularly like the character. She is fixed on a proposal she made up in her head, most of her pillow talk is based around how she wouldn’t mind dying with her boyfriend, so they could be together eternally and whenever an opportunity to like the character crops up, she ruins it with a terrible piece of dialogue. McCord is asked to talk over everything, so the silent tension is replaced with her Southern American drawl. Yes, she gets the serial killer vibe nailed down, but when there is so little to like about this movie, this becomes the factor that makes you really begin to loathe this film. I was expecting a bit of a feminist argument, as the scorned woman turns around and becomes the vengeful hero of the story, but what I got was the complete opposite. Women are crazy and cannot be trusted with their emotions. Utter crap!
Final Verdict: The set-up might have been a good idea, but the director and writer throw it away for some mindless torture porn.