By its own admission ‘Broken’ claims to be influenced by the success of ‘SAW’ and ‘Hostel’, and although it states that it attempts to put its own spin on the whole genre I was a bit sceptical, it’s not exactly a genre brimming with expandability is it?
With that in mind ‘Broken’ begins with something which is less of an influence, but more of a copy of the whole ‘SAW’ self mutilation concept. A young girl is roped to a tree; her only hope to escape is to cut the rope using the razor blade which is sewn into her stomach. The gore is good here as she must take apart her stitches and reach inside the wound. Naturally her intestines begin to work their way out and the effects are half decent; a good start.
Sadly from here the movie takes the most bizarre of turns, actually it becomes quite amusing at first but turns to tedium by the end of the movie.
Once the girl cuts herself down the killer returns and she is given the choice, can she continue? – She does. She wants to see her daughter again. Naturally I assumed that she would have to undergo further torture. Alright it would have been a complete ‘SAW’ rip off but with a bit of imagination it could have been good.
He takes the girl back to her camp where her ordeal is only just beginning. Now bear with me here, I find it difficult to put this across without it sounding like a complete joke, her torture, if it could be described as that, is to first do the washing up, and then to look after his makeshift herb garden. This torment goes on for 40 odd days! The killer actually captures another girl and then, guess what, she’s on washing up duty, and girl number one is full time on the veggie patch. It was actually quite ludicrous. There is a little more gore later on in the movie but by this time the movie had lost any sort of grim atmosphere that in all honesty it failed to make much impact at all.
I want to say at this point that despite the poor choice in plot direction the movie does have some fairly positive aspects worthy of note. The locations shot in the woods are suitably moody and despite the low budget the movies post production gives it a sleek high quality finish which masks the lack of money. The killer looks fairly normal, but there is something about him which at least gives the movie some credibility from this angle. His acting his good but that of the heroine is not, she manages to ruin several of the scenes completely and I felt that throughout the movie she never quite suited the role.
Overall I felt that the ideas behind this movie were probably better than the final project. The makers obviously knew what they were doing, but their vision was articulated poorly. I get the fact that the killer’s slave angle was meant to be degrading and dehumanising, but in all honesty it didn’t really come across as such. I genuinely feel that watching someone’s head tore apart by a torture device seems a little more brutal on film than someone having to get down and dirty with a Brillo pad. What was the new spin on the genre? Torture movie without torture? It’s not awful, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again.