Monday, March 21, 2011

#227. Broken (2006)

Directed By: Simon Boyes, Adam Mason

Starring: Nadja Brand, Eric Colvin, Abbey Stirling

Tag line: "Horror Has A Human Heart"

Trivia:  In Japan, this film was released as JIGSAW: DEAD OR ALIVE

The opening frames of Broken, a 2006 independent horror film from Great Britain, offer a quote by Harriet A. Jacobs: “The slave girl is reared in an atmosphere of fear”. This provides an inkling of what to expect from the story, but fails to prepare us for just how savage this movie will be. Even the opening title sequence, filled with bloody violence, may be enough to turn the heartiest of stomachs.

After returning home from a date, single mom Hope (Nadja Brand) kisses her sleeping daughter, Jennifer (Megan van Kerro), good-night, then heads off to bed. But when Hope awakens the next morning, she's no longer in her bedroom, or even in her small apartment. She's in the middle of a forest, locked in a coffin-like crate, with blood all over her clothes. Sometime during the night, Hope was abducted by a mysterious man (Eric Colvin), who seems intent on keeping her as his prisoner. Anxious to learn the whereabouts of her daughter, she at first plays along with her captor, putting up with all the physical abuse he throws her way. But before long, beaten down and with no end to her torment in sight, Hope finds she's willing to do whatever it takes to escape.

Though they're together for the majority of the film, very little dialogue passes between Hope and the Man (he's never given a name), but then not much is needed.  We learn all we need to about their 'relationship' just by watching. In an early scene, Hope, who's been knocked unconscious, wakes to find herself strapped to a tree, a rope fastened around her neck. As if this wasn't bad enough, she's also standing on a log that's just barely balanced on a stump, meaning one wrong move and the log will fall away, leaving her to die of strangulation. Hanging on the tree directly across from her is the decomposing body of another girl, tied in exactly the same manner. In a panic, Hope starts to scream, at which point the Man walks up to her, hands her a sharpened stick and says “cut it out if you want to survive”. This leads to what is perhaps the most disturbing scene in the film.

The acting is top-notch. Nadja Brand does a fine job as the tortured prisoner who soon grows tired of her new lot in life. You can see the initial fear in her eyes, which is re4placed by hatred as the days drag endlessly on. The truly great performance, however, is delivered by Eric Colvin as the Man. We never do learn what drives his character to abduct women (though we get the feeling he's an old pro at it). He is an enigma, a twisted individual who nonetheless has a method to his madness. He remains a frightening presence throughout Broken, and we learn to dread him as much as his prisoner does.

Be warned: Broken is not an easy film to sit through; each gory scene is matched by one of mental anguish, which is every bit as difficult to watch. But if you feel you're up to it, then I certainly recommend this film. Broken is one of the best Indie horror movies I've ever seen.


Anonymous said...

Hooha that is a strong statement with thousands of indepandants one of the best you seen. I must see it!!

TY for all the extra horror films!!

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for stopping by.

Yeah, I was really impressed with this film. It has it's share of gore, but it's also a psychological horror film, with a real battle of wills at times between the two leads. Definitely worth checking out.

Thanks again, and thanks also for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

How goes it MisterShock, I was wondering how I subscribe to your horror write-ups via RSS, like I do on Planet Macabre.

Thank you,

Anonymous said...


Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comments!

D.W.: I'll have to look into the RSS feed. Hopefully, I can have something up by the end of this week.

Anonymous: Thanks so much for kind words. We appreciate it.

Thanks to both of you for listening to Planet Macabre.

emrecnl said...

You know Dave, I wonder if there's another genre name for such films to be called instead Horror? I sometimes think that these are not meant to be horror at some point. By that I mean lots of gore scene as you mentioned, not for everybody's watch and not for every horror film lover.

Dave B. said...

@emrecnl: I understand what you're saying, but in the case of BROKEN, I definitely consider it a horror film. Yes, its gory, but the central tale of kidnapping and isolation make for a nerve-wracking film.

Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment!