Directed by: Jennifer Lynch
Written by: Jennifer Lynch
Starring: Vincent D’Onofrio, Eamon Farren, Gina Philips, Conor Leslie, Evan Bird
Unrelenting abuse leaves such damaging effects on the poor individual who endures it. A nonstop cycle, which can never be easily mended. Never has such wrought abuse and mental pain ever looked so grimy and dirty than in the terrifying Chained. A film unafraid to show the brutality of this type of serial killer in a way leaving you feeling dirty afterward.
After being abducted by this large man named Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio), Rabbit (Eamon Farren) lives chained to a wall and must serve this serial killer. Rabbit must clean his house, especially after Bob brings home a young girl, brutally rapes her, and then kills her. Soon, Bob wants to groom Rabbit into killing as well, which begins a fight for liberation.
It’s certainly difficult to recommend a film like Chained because of its brutality and how dark and cursed the subject material turns out to be. The sheer grotesque nature of the actions displayed in this film certainly would not fare well for all, but my goodness, it sure is incredibly effective in the context of the story. As a culture, we have these fascinations with serial killers in trying to figure out their motives and methods, but this film puts you right in the midst of the atrocities occurring. Rabbit literally cannot leave this hell and literally gets chained to a wall. Being kidnapped at the young age of nine and now nearly an adult, he has lived this life more than any other normal one. It’s incredibly sad and it shows the character and the actor portraying him.
Think of Eamon Farren’s performance to be like someone who has not had proper socialization like a homeschooler, but the lessons being taught only revolve around savagely brutalizing women. Yeah, that would definitely do a number on you mentally. Farren works through this character in showing the internal pain and outwardly brings it forward through his meekness. The character of Rabbit desperately wants to escape, but he mentally needs to fight this hump and get over the behemoth in the name of Bob standing in his way.
Even though we follow Rabbit and want him to escape, the performance of Vincent D’Onofrio as Bob completely takes over everything in this feature film. D’Onofrio’s size makes him someone not to mess with on most occasions, but the way he’s used in this film perfectly utilizes his size to show the amount of power he could conjure. It’s truly frightening to see how easily he could handle someone and D’Onofrio truly sells it. He gives those blank looks, much like in Full Metal Jacket, where just sits there on the couch in a ragged T-shirt and boxers. He has those moments of calmness, which immediately evaporates when he gets up to get his latest victim. Truly an unsettling performance because there are moments where he tries to act fatherly towards Rabbit, but you cannot forget the true monstrosity he represents.
The shift that changes the narrative comes when Bob attempts to groom Rabbit into being just like him, and forcing him to choose a girl for the giant man to bring back and have Rabbit kill. Similarly to a lion wounding another animal for the cub to get the final blow and learn how to do this on their own. This shifts Rabbit from a passive observer to an active participant in the horrifying actions of Bob. This changes the entire story and pushes Rabbit to fight back, gain freedom, and protect women from this monster. The moments where Rabbit tries to fight back gives you yet another reminder, if you needed one, of the brutalizing force Bob can be.
Director Jennifer Lynch definitely enjoys herself some gruesome films and the dirty world she builds in this film definitely succeeds. This setting produces nightmares for anyone who believes in a clean house and the soot look comes through onto you as an audience member. Part of that goes with the color palette of the film. It utilizes yellow in a way that shows the color in the most unflattering way, which just adds to the overall feeling of disgust Lynch wants to produce with this film.
Chained will be difficult to sit through, but it proves to tell a strong story about overcoming one’s abuser. The straw breaking the camel’s back in these circumstances may vary, but for Rabbit, it comes in the form of actively hurting someone for the pleasure of this horrid man. The constant dirty look will make you want to take a shower afterward, which shows a level of success in the making of this film.