By Jerome Reuter
(Warning: some spoilers)
Any Psychologist will tell you that human beings are a product of our environment. It all goes back to the old phrase, ‘nature vs. nurture.’ What we experience within the first decade and a half of out lifetime dictates who we’ll most likely be for the rest of our lives. This is the subject of Jennifer Lynch’s 2012 psychological horror film, Chained. Ever since Boxing Helena, Lynch has committed the darker side of humanity to celluloid, with haunting results.
Chained is a story of psychological manipulation, and a journey into the mind of a serial killer. Not since Henry, have we been taken on a journey into the mechanics of a sociopath. We often wonder what makes these people tick, and what drives them to stray so far from the realms of sanity. We also wonder what creates these monsters, which don’t exist in a fairy tale, but in our own neighborhood.
Our story centers on a young boy and his mother. On a fateful summer day, they manage to catch the wrong cab after attending a screening of a horror film. Behind the wheel of this cab is a serial killer named Bob, played brilliantly by Vincent D’Onofrio. After taking them to a secluded location, he murders the mother, and makes the young child his slave.
Before I go any further, I have to touch base on this. This is D’Onofrio’s best performane since Full Metal Jacket. He’s callous, manipulative, and completely chilling every time he’s on screen. I would even go so far as to rank his performance in this one alongside Michael Rooker in Henry. He’s one of the many things that give this film much a dark tone.
Bob goes about indoctrinating the young boy into his world. A world of cold-blooded murder, where the human race simply becomes objects for his disposal. He goes about training him in reading people, anatomy, or as he calls it ‘what makes them tick.’ We’ve read about this in many criminal files. Most killers have a complete lack of empathy for anyone else. Here, D’Onofrio brings that sentiment to life. As we see him groom his neophyte, we see how a twisted mind operates. Bob’s backstory is told through an occasional flashback. We see what creates a monster, and we find out that everything is coming full circle.
The atmosphere this film has is indescribable. Not once, can you take your eyes off of the screen. It’s easy to dismiss a make believe monster, one created by a writer of fantasy. When we’re forced to confront the reality of what might be next door, our comfort zone is completely shattered. Give this one a watch as soon as you can, you won’t be disappointed.