DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Melissa George as JAMIE
    Christian Campbell as KEVIN
    Alice Krige as FALCO
    Connor Christopher Levins as MICHAEL
    Oded Fehr as MASKED MAN

    Rated R
    Studio: MGM

    Directed by: Amanda Gusack

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Jamie (Melissa George) is an average housewife who finds herself kidnapped by a mysterious masked man (Oded Fehr). Soon, she learns that he’s after information about her husband Kevin (Christian Campbell), who works in espionage. The kidnappers have also taken her son Michael (Connor Christopher Levins), who is diabetic and needs constant attention. Jamie soon agrees to work with the kidnappers to uncover her husband’s secrets in order to save her son.

It would be easy to dismiss “The Betrayed” as another slice of torture porn, because on a certain level it is. Similar to the theatrical release “Untraceable” with Diane Lane or the DVD release of “Horsemen” with Dennis Quaid, “The Betrayed” dabbles in torture porn without being an exploitative film like “Hostel” or the “Saw” series. It tries to hang a certain level of intellectualism to the film, and that works to a degree. In other words, you get something more than just a bunch of teenagers chained up in a dirty basement getting the screws put to them.

In this respect, “The Betrayed” reminds me of the Elisha Cuthbert flop “Captivity,” which reveled in its tortuous nature but tried to tell an old-fashioned thriller story (albeit poorly executed). I will give director Amanda Gusack kudos to the fact that she is trying to do something more. The story does keep you guessing, and buried in there are some twists and turns. Unfortunately, with the exception of an insatiable appetite for all things “Saw,” the public just seems to be getting tired of this kind of film.

Not to harp on the torture porn quality of this movie, but this was what was holding back “The Betrayed.” Sadly, there’s a decent story in there somewhere, but it’s buried in exploitation. And in the hands of the capable Melissa George (who already paid her torture porn dues with “Turistas”), this film could have been something special.

Unfortunately, “The Betrayed” suffers not from genre envy, but also from clunky writing. There’s a lot going on in the film, and the script doesn’t really tie it all together properly. Things get confusing and almost unbelievable when Jamie finally starts decoding the information from audio tapes of her husband’s conversations. And in this respect, magnetic cassette tapes seem really low-tech for international espionage, especially considering Jamie’s brilliant work with computers.

Aside from the theatrical trailer, there’s no special features on this DVD.

People who want higher-brow torture porn.

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