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DVD Review: Broken

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I wanted to like this film. I really, really wanted to like it. The packaging alone made me want to like it: the outer cover slides apart at the center, at a freshly stitched wound, to reveal a red, gory mess. Come on, how many slasher DVDs grab you like that? Sadly, the film itself is not as inventive.

A nameless woman (though the credits list her as "Hope," of course) is drugged and abducted, waking in the woods. She is tied to a tree, tenuously balanced on a tree stump and hung on rope. The captor makes it clear to the woman that the only way to save her own life is to rip out fresh stitches from her stomach, retrieve the razor blade that he hid in her guts, and cut the rope before she hangs herself.

Promising start! Sure, it is very close to the objectives in Saw, but it is still a good bloody mess. Unfortunately, the fun stops there.

The woman, having passed her test, is then chained up and kept captive. And that's it. The captor makes his captive scrub pots and maintain a garden – all while chained – but he doesn't abuse her or mistreat her in any way. He only has sex with his captive after she seduces him, thinking it might be her way out (she is wrong). The captive woman tries to make a break for it almost immediately after coitus, but she doesn't make it.

The captor leaves his captive in his forest hideaway while he goes out and brings home a new woman. By now, "Hope" has been in the man's captivity for several weeks. The new captive finally gets the balls to attack her captor and escape. "Hope" escapes too, but cannot come to the new woman's help – she is shot. The captor returns, and his original captive – who has now been in captivity for over a month – beats him to death. The end.

The blurbs on the case promise a creepy, gory movie, far more than Saw. I thought Saw was fun, but not over-the-top with gore. Now, I am a true gorehound. Cannibal Holocaust, I Spit on Your Grave, and the Guinea Pig series all populate my shelf. So maybe I am jaded. But outside of the first 10 minutes or so, there is virtually no gore whatsoever. The movie is actually quite slow, with a lot of the woman whining about finding her daughter, whose fate is unknown.

The script suffered the most serious problems. Besides being slow, there is no point to the movie. I don't mean a message, I just wanted some sort of reason that I am watching this. Characters are introduced at the beginning and never seen again. There are not many high and low points, just an even keel. The captor never explains why he does this – it is established that these two women were not his only victims. When faced with his own mortality, the captor actually breaks down into hysterical sobbing. It's actually quite pathetic. And the "twist" ending can be seen coming from the other side of the foggy forest.

Unless you are a connoisseur of unique packaging, don't bother buying this DVD. It might be a rental, if you have cleared out your Netflix queue. Go ahead and wait until it is on cable if you want to see it.

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