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Scorned

Review by: 
Colossal Olmec Head
Release Date: 
2013
Studio: 
Anchor Bay/Starz!
Genre: 
Thriller
Format: 
Blu-ray
Region: 
0 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.78:1
Directed by: 
Mark Jones
Cast: 
AnnaLynne McCord
Viva Bianca
Billy Zane
Movie: 
3
Extras: 
0
Bottom Line: 
3
Video: 
Click to Play

Ever had one of those friends, the fucked-up chick magnet?  Maybe you kind of envied him.  Rich.  Good-looking in that suave way.  He can't really help it.  The gods on high gave him these gifts.  Success just seems to come his way.   Devastatingly handsome women just can't wait to pull off their panties for him.  Or at least it seems that way to you, a lesser mortal.  But you only partly envy him, because somewhere, somewhere deep inside, you know he's got this character flaw.  Part of the package I guess.  I mean, thank God, or life would really be unfair, right?  Anyway, your friend, he's got that peculiar kind of flaw that draws the kind of woman that, when he steps out on her, well, she's going to literally recreate that scene from 'Misery' and snap his damn ankle with a sledge hammer.   Trust me.  You don't want to be this guy.

Kevin (Zane) is that sort of guy.  Sadie (McCord) is that kind of woman.  Kevin has an Architectural Digest-worthy residence overlooking the mountains and a lake below.  Here he brings Sadie, his stunning girlfriend of six months for a weekend romp.  She's got marriage designs on him already.  We know this because Sadie admits as much to her life-long bestie, Jennifer (Bianca).  Of course, while she's pledging her love for Kevin to Jennifer, she's also flirting with the bartender to cadge free drinks.  The weekend starts with promise, a half-naked chase to the edge of the lake followed by lake sex.  But things take a turn for the worse when Sadie, post-lake-coitus, throws their clothes in the dryer and discovers Kevin's mobile in his pants and begins scrolling through spicy texts he's been exchanging with none other than Jennifer.   Uh-oh.

Now here I have to pick a nit.  Sadie, clad only in the tightest of panties, dove into the waters and beckoned to her beau.  Horny Kevin can't wait to shuck his fashionable white cotton slacks, and he wades in after her, pulling off his soaked pants only after full immersion.  Guess where the phone was?   Maybe he's a rich guy with a moisture-resistant phone, but mine sure isn't going to survive lengthy submersion in lake water.   I was reminded of a rather famous editing failure from literature of long ago.  It's the one where Robinson Crusoe, freshly shipwrecked, strips off his clothes and swims back out to the wreck to find food and then stuffs his pockets with biscuits before swimming back.  Yeah, I know what you're thinking.  It's a tiny point.  But this film is trying to pass itself off as a psychological thriller with a side-helping of mystery, and a nit, even a tiny nit, can suggest an infection that's going to require a course of medicated shampoos.

Sadie's a mess, we learn early.  In fact, she's a train wreck internally, but without revealing the wherefores of her inner damage, you can know she's a pill-popper.  She spills her purse to reveal about half a dozen prescription bottles.  She's pharmaceutically suppressing something terrible, and its Kevin's ill-luck that he's talked her out of swallowing at least some of those very necessary meds.  Needless to say, Sadie's discovery of her betrayal by Kevin and Jennifer pushes her over the abyss, and, after luring Jennifer to the house as well by texting her temptingly from Kevin's phone, she means to drag Kevin and Jennifer down with her.

Smartly, the plot will focus chiefly on the three main characters, interactions mediated through the lens of Sadie who veers from sadistically vindictive to caring and back again depending on the suffering of her victims.   She will torture them with electric shock while she mentally flashes back to her own repeated electroconvulsive therapy as a young girl.  To ensure that Kevin cannot more easily escape his bindings, she will stuff his mouth with her own pills to keep him half-sedated.  Lessons must be taught, and tools are employed to the do the teaching.  The sledge hammer has been mentioned above, but heavy pliers, a steel table vice, and an outboard motor make cameos as well.

What's missing?  Smart, well-crafted dialogue is too often absent.  The word 'sophomoric' came to mind more than once.  When one of the characters is killed in an escape attempt in a way rather fortuitous for Sadie she utters, "There really is a God after all."  I stopped counting clunkers after that.   As this is a psycho-drama, there must be psycho-resolution.  That resolution, however, is presaged by editing so jarringly artless l was forced to recall MST3K's frequent snark, "And now back to the other movie ..." There are other weaknesses.  One such is the rather incredible way an admittedly crazed, but very slightly-built woman, could successfully restrain two full-grown adults, adults who's very lives she threatens, with not much more than rope and pills.

Despite the occasional clunker and its other real shortcomings, this isn't a terrible movie.  Zane is decent enough as the handsome cad, though he is given little to work with as his character is portrayed as drugged into a half-stupor when he isn't being actively tormented.  Bianca, as Jennifer, convincingly pleads for her life, alternately reminding Sadie of their life-long friendship when she isn't cursing her as Sadie quite literally tightens the screws.  If the movie has a saving grace, it is the blonde and lissome McCord who persuasively brings to life the betrayed and very, very psychotic Sadie.  At the end, you'll thank Zeus you're not blessed with a demi-god's gifts because they always come bundled with that fatal demi-god's flaw.

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