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Chained (2012) - A Movie Review

Updated on August 16, 2017
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My passion is for films that scare the pants off you and I am always searching for movies that can do just that.

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What is Chained About?

Tim and his mum (Australian for mom) are coming home in a taxi. Sarah, his mother, soon realises something is amiss but is helpless to relieve herself and her son from their dire situation. The taxi driver (Vincent D’Onofrio) keeps Tim, who he renames Rabbit, chained in his house, after initially thinking he could give him more freedom. However poor Rabbit tries unsuccessfully to escape his fate as Bob’s servant and protege, so the chain becomes a permanent fixture for some time. Rabbit has enough chain to move about the house, but not enough to reach anything of use, like the door except to open it - but not go through it. Bob doesn’t hide his hobby of murdering people from poor little Rabbit and in the beginning, Rabbit fights against being trapped in this new life.

Soon he grows up though and the movie delves into Rabbit, who has now become a teenager and what kind of person has he been taught to become? It’s been 9 years. It’s obvious by this time, Bob would have a profound influence on such a young kid. Is it enough to make him kill too?

Its rated R

Jennifer Lynch, the director, cut scenes to get the rating down to an R and included these scenes in the special features edition of the DVD copy
Jennifer Lynch, the director, cut scenes to get the rating down to an R and included these scenes in the special features edition of the DVD copy | Source

Movie Specifications

Welcome to Vanessa the Popcorn Eater’s review of Chained

  • Movie Title: Chained
  • Director: Jennifer Lynch
  • Writer: Jennifer Lynch
  • Date of Release: Premiered at Fantasia Festival in August 2012 and then went direct to video in October
  • Genre: Serial Killer/thriller with a psychological undercurrent
  • Budget: $700,000

Watch the preview and see if it looks too much for you

What the Critics thought

This movie has some pretty harsh reviews – one by Peter Bradshaw of "The Guardian" stood out quite a bit and had him saying;

"No movie leaves a nastier taste in the mouth that this crass serial-killer junk."

Needless to say, he didn’t much fancy it.

I thought it necessary to include this reference because even though I don’t agree with Peter, I would hate for someone to go in blind and watch this Rated R movie and then be scarred for life like Peter seemed to be. I was not damaged as a person having watched this. I had no problem digesting this movie.

Other critics like IMDb.com and Rotten Tomatoes weren’t as disgusted by the script or the movie. They both give it between 6 or 7 out of 10. So people other than me appreciate it too. Even Amazon audiences rate it as high as 4 out of 5 stars.

It’s got a twist. Peter Bradshaw thinks it’s a crap twist – I liked the ending, I thought it was a bit rough for the characters involved in the twist, but that’s what makes it a twist. Movies like this usually end the same, and you never get an explanation about why it is what it is. This twist creates a point of difference and that left me pretty satisfied.

Some serial killers are fictional - but some movies are based on the real deal

Which of the following serial killers is fictional - only one is correct

See results
Originally Lynch wanted another actor to play the part of Bob, however D'Onofrio's application and script reading convinced her she wouldn't regret picking him
Originally Lynch wanted another actor to play the part of Bob, however D'Onofrio's application and script reading convinced her she wouldn't regret picking him | Source

Real or fictional - here are some I found

Who
What Movie
Real or Made Up
Freddy Krueger
Friday The 13th
Real - Inspired by reports in the LA times of a string of deaths of Cambodian immigrants - they were too scared to go back to sleep. Some died in their sleep for no apparent reason
Mick Taylor
Wolf Creek
Real - Inspired by Australian serial killer Ivan Milat who is as we speak rotting in prison. He was nicknamed "The Backpacker Killer"
Norman Bates
Psycho
Made Up - Purely fictional character. It should be said though, that subsequent Psycho movies where the killer is a copy cat were based loosley on Ed Gein
Hannibal Lector
Silence of the Lambs
Made up - Fictional character made up and turned into quite a few movies and a television series. The only refernce to be found to a real life person was a man imprisoned for killing one person who happened to be a close friend

A little clip from the movie - will he decide to be like Bob?

The Writer

Jennifer Lynch the writer and director, is perhaps a name you have heard. I thought it sounded familiar when I researched her and found she wrote the book behind the Twin Peaks series - The Secret Life of Laura Palmer.

Twin Peaks has recently been brought back for a second season after 26 years. David Lynch is her father – he had a role in Twin Peaks as well as wrote and directed for it. Jennifer Lynch also had a hand in directing episodes of The Walking Dead, Wayward Pines, American Horror Story and a few others. Most of her movies were classified as flops, the most famous flop was Boxing Helena but I can find reviews where fans loved that too - I’ve not Boxing Helena, so I can’t comment on that. But I aim to add it to my viewing list. If you like serial killers and movies with a twist that make you feel something, perhaps you should give Chained a whirl.

Most of the violence happens off screen, you are left to your imagination of how bad things are. It creates a tense atmosphere I think.
Most of the violence happens off screen, you are left to your imagination of how bad things are. It creates a tense atmosphere I think. | Source

Who else is in it?

The cast is quite small, Julia Ormond is Rabbit’s mum, she’s been in a few movies – the ones that I have seen are – Legends of the Fall and First Knight. Some of Bob’s victims have a quite lengthy film and television careers – too many to mention here, but if you pay attention to them, perhaps you will recognise one of his many victims.

My thoughts on 'Chained.'

After watching this movie, nature or nurture questions, pop into my mind as they often do when serial killers are dissected. There are other moves with a similar premise like Room 2015 that cross into that seedy place where individuals do cruel and misogynistic things to women for reasons unbeknownst to us normal folk. Peter Bradshaw recommended watching a movie called Michael, which he said was brilliant compared to this – but it has an even nastier subtext than this did so I don’t know about that until I see it.

I rate it – I think the acting is solid – the movie made me uncomfortable at times, but no more than other movies with this type of violence and there are plenty out there that I would consider far worse than this.

Why did I watch it?

Serial killers...I hold a morbid fascination with them along with leaning towards the horror spectrum when choosing movies or series’ to watch.

I watched this because I really like Vincent D’Onofrio, he featured heavily in Law and Order: Criminal Intent and then I saw him again in Daredevil – the series and so I went, traipsing through his filmography realising quite quickly that he had appeared in many things I had seen like Jurassic World and Sinister but also Men in Black, the latter having him blend in so well with the character that I had no idea I had seen him (remember Edgar or the Edgar suit? That’s him.)

Vincent D'Onofrio played Edgar before he became nothing like Edgar in Men In Black
Vincent D'Onofrio played Edgar before he became nothing like Edgar in Men In Black | Source

4 Empty cereal bowls out of 5

4 stars for Chained

What movies do I like?

Some people like comedies they rarely stray from their love of laughter and then stay within a comfy zone of Rom-Com's and lighthearted gush, they want to cry into tissues and feel their heart swell.

Some like war movies or action movies and that type of thing - they still see the violence but there is usually a hero to pin your hopes on. Some never stray into horror, dark, sometimes “yucky” realms. That is fair enough. This movie will take you there, as do most serial killer based movies whether real or fictional. To be honest, I won’t watch war movies. War movies are too real for me. I won’t watch a movie where someone has a terminal illness or their dog has a terminal illness, or their future partner in life is going to die before the end. Gimme horror, thriller, monsters, and serial killers any day over the other stuff that inevitably makes you cry.

Serial killers exist, sure, they are these blights on humanity, derived from something people try and figure out. Movies are made based on them but with lots of fictional up-sizing. Also, a number of people who have dealt with real-life murderers or serial killers would be vastly less than those killed by war or disease.

Zombie wars are ok too. Just sayin.'

© 2017 Vanessa Stewart

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    • NessMovieReviews profile image
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      Vanessa Stewart 6 weeks ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      I noticed this movie was absent in alot of serial killer musings. This movie is less about the serial killing themselves being discovered or tracked and more about the serial killers life in general which is unusual.. give it a crack.

      Ive just noticed a universal pictures ad on my article. I can only assume that might be a good thing. Fingers crossed

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 6 weeks ago from Louisiana, USA

      Never heard of this film. I will have to give it a watch. Seems like something I might enjoy. I love serial killer films.