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  • 18
  • Horror, Thriller
  • 2012
  • 94 mins

Chained

A boy is guided to manhood by Vincent D'Onofrio's taxi-driving serial killer

Synopsis

A boy is guided to manhood by the taxi-driving serial killer (Vincent D'Onofrio) who has abducted him. Jennifer Lynch directs and co-writes.

Review

The titular antihero of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver may famously have been played by a Bob (DeNiro), but when the similarly murderous cabbie in Chained (played with tender brutality by Vincent D'Onofrio) turns out also to be called Bob, there is a further inevitable reference to Killer Bob, the fatherly abuser in television's Twin Peaks. After all, Twin Peaks' tie-in novel The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer (1990) marked its author Jennifer Lynch's first entry into the public arena - and its theme of the damage done by adults to children has recurred in her film Surveillance (2008), and now in Chained.

"Aren't you worried about nightmares?", nine-year-old Tim (Evan Bird) is asked by his mother Sarah (Julia Ormond) after both have watched a horror film of the boy's choosing - but Tim is about to be traumatised by an influence altogether more real than the movies. On their way home from the cinema, the two are abducted by Bob, and Sarah is killed. Years later, the now teenaged Tim (Eamon Farren), redubbed 'Rabbit', is still a captive, tasked with keeping house and cleaning up after Bob's serial rapes/murders - but as Bob starts urging Tim to get his first "taste of a woman", the boy must decide what sort of man he will become.

For Tim, literally shackled to his new home, all life is a nightmare of extreme domestic dysfunction - but Bob too has nightmares, inflected with memories of his own horrifically perverse upbringing. So Lynch's claustrophobic drama is a tragedy of cyclical abuse, in which monsters are not so much born as made - even if a twisty and rather rushed coda brings nature right back in from nurture's dark shadow.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Vincent D'Onofrio, Julia Ormond
  • Director: Jennifer Lynch
  • Screen Writer: Jennifer Lynch
  • Writer (Original Screenplay): Damien O'Donnell
  • Photographer: Shane Daly

In a nutshell

In this claustrophobic cabbie horror, Jennifer Lynch makes us captive passengers as she traces a chain of domestic abuse to its bitter Oedipal end.

by Anton Bitel

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