"If you’ve never seen a horror film before, then elements of Torment may work for you"

Torment opens with a scene in which a family are brutally attacked by unknown assailants. It’s a duration that’s heavy on mood and high on implied gore, yet is emotionally cold and devoid of any subtlety; Drew Barrymore being hounded in Scream this is not.

This opening inevitably sets the tone for the rest of the film, which sees newly married Cory (Robin Dunne) and Sarah (Katharine Isabelle) take the former’s young son, Liam (Peter DaCunha), to their home in the country for some quality time together. It’s made clear that Liam doesn’t like Sarah (although it’s hard to really see why), and that something bad is about to happen. They discover the house has been broken into and lived in at some point, and while the perpetrators appear to have left, it’s made startlingly clear to the audience that they are not too far away.

While the opening 30 minutes is meant to build up tension, it does so by often resorting to clichés and an overuse of the film’s score that punctuates just about every single moment. Whatever happened to themes, characters and cameras creating a sense of dread? There are, it must be said, one or two effective moments to speak of, but it’s not hard to see where the story heads.

Once the antagonists turn up with no apparent motive, but with gardening shears in hand and weird masks on, it becomes a home invasion film that sees Cory and Sarah attempt to find Liam and escape, all the while making some ridiculously bad decisions (‘You stay here, I’ll go and get help!’).

There are a couple of minor surprises towards the end, and at less than 80 minutes the somewhat thin plot isn’t overstretched. But all too often Torment resorts to tropes, referencing classics like The Shining and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which remind you that this is nothing more than a bog standard genre piece. If you’ve never seen a horror film before, then elements of Torment may work for you, but in truth there are plenty of better titles for newcomers to explore.