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Trashy B-movie thriller Scorned is really stupid, but damn if AnnaLynne McCord isn't an engaging actress. She plays unhinged and pissed Sadie, a young woman who discovers that her boyfriend Kevin (Billy Zane) is sleeping with her best friend, Jennifer (Viva Bianca). She lures Kevin to a fancy house on a weekend getaway, drugs him and proceeds to make him wish he'd never laid a finger on another woman. This low-budget, direct-to-video thriller comes up short on almost everything, including logic, scares and entertainment value. McCord chews up the scenery and spits it out, but the film is content to have her repeat clichés about "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" instead of creating any type of suspense.
It's pretty obvious from the get-go that Sadie has some deep-rooted psychological issues, so it's not surprising when the film begins dropping hints about a turbulent childhood and past instances of violence. I didn't really care about that, and neither will you. Torturing your cheating boyfriend and best friend is a bit extreme, and Scorned at least acknowledges that Sadie is the bad guy. She ties up Kevin first, then invites Jennifer to the house for some sleaze before springing a trap on her, too. Sadie spends most of the film forcing painkillers down Kevin's throat and telling Jennifer how she is more to blame than Kevin. None of this is very entertaining.
McCord does her best, adopting a high-pitched Southern drawl and a fresh-out-of-the-psych ward persona. She teases her victims and the audience, and each melodramatic milestone represents an important step in a well-rehearsed plan. The problem with all this - problems is more like it - is that Scorned never settles on what it wants to be. Is it a torture porn horror film? A black comedy? A don't ever cheat morality tale? The film is such a hodgepodge of odd ideas that it never meshes into something entertaining.
The climax is especially ridiculous, and involves McCord seducing an escaped convict. I had several questions about his sudden, coincidental (?) escape from jail. Scorned answered none of these. Zane is pretty terrible here but doesn't speak much, and Bianca looks like she did this exclusively for a paycheck. McCord plays gleefully unhinged just fine, and she deserves some better material to showcase her talents. As it unspools, Scorned offers nothing of note. Neither scary nor funny enough to entertain, this one is dead on arrival.
PICTURE AND SOUND:
The 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer looks pretty good for this no-budget thriller. Detail and texture are strong, colors are nicely saturated and shadow detail is good. There is some crush in darker scenes but I suspect this is a source issue. The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is also good, with excellent dialogue reproduction, good effects separation, and subwoofer support for the pop-music soundtrack. There are some boisterous action effects that reverberate through the surrounds, too. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.
AnnaLynne McCord is engaging as a crazy, scorned woman who tortures her cheating boyfriend and friend in this silly thriller. Unfortunately, the ridiculous script and limited budget don't help the film recover from its tonal inconsistencies. Despite some serious overacting and melodrama, Scorned mostly bores. Skip It.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.