Vincent D’Onofrio is a brilliant actor, so the mind boggles at the kind of direction Jennifer Lynch gave him in 2012 slasher-drama Chained. Its a shame because the premise is very intriguing, taking the form of the story you don’t see in slasher fiction.
It sees D’Onofrio play Bob, a serial woman killer who abducts a mother and her child Tim (played as a teenager by Eamon Farren for the most part of the film). After disposing of his mother Bob is seemingly not sure what to do with the boy, who he renames Rabbit, and so keeps him as a slave. Obviously a weird father/son relationship slowly develops and Bob begins to try and teach Rabbit to follow in his footsteps as a serial killer.
As a slasher Bob is as bog standard as they come. He’s a character that seems to have had very little thought put into him. Its mostly just grunting, monosyllabic commands and offensiveness. D’Onofrio is clearly doing the best he can with what there is but he’s already been set up for a fall. His mannerisms are so cliche it’s a borderline parody performance.
Eamon Farren is similarly constricted by his thoroughly two dimensional character. Yes, there is a core resistance to become a serial killer himself, but there’s very little else to him other than being timid.
To be fair the characters have both been beaten physically and psychologically so much that it only makes sense that they’re completely stifled when it comes to normal human operation. But that doesn’t mean its interesting. By creating a film so singular Lynch has painted herself into a corner, bound by the same ultra limited rules that she’s used to make Chained seem enticing in the first place.
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