Jennifer Lynch probably hates being called out as David Lynch’s daughter. And really, it’s not very fair to her, since she’s pretty much doing straight up horror thrillers. Her best movie is Surveillance, a violent and energetic mind trip with a cast that’s clearly having fun. I particularly like how Bill Pullman seems to be in the stage of his career when he couldn’t care less whether people take him seriously. But then Jennifer Lynch made a horrible snake woman movie in India called Hisss (sic, by the way). Hisss’ only claim to fame is that it keeps the Spider-Man reboot from being the most embarrassing movie Irrfan Khan has ever made.
Lynch’s latest movie is an occasionally interesting but mostly just gross movie in which Vincent D’Onofrio plays a serial killer who keeps the child of one of his victims to raise as his own. To be a serial killer himself, natch. Maybe you haven’t seen Dexter. But to Chained’s credit, it’s not sexying up the serial killing. D’Onofrio is slow, loathsome, cruel, and — gasp! — out of shape. As Chained develops the relationship between D’Onofrio and a strikingly odd-looking actor named Eamon Farren, it has a few weirdly effective moments. But these eventually fall away, someone gets stabbed, and any goodwill Chained might have earned is squandered in a disgusting and unnecessary finale.
There’s a German movie from last year called Michael about similar subject matter. But it’s even grosser in that it doesn’t have any opinion on what the psychopath its doing. It’s neither sympathetic nor judgmental, which is an odd way to tell a story about a pedophile who holds a child captive. I could appreciate the craft of actor Michael Fuith’s disconcerting performance (check him out in the excellent German zombie movie Rammbock for a Michael Fuith palate cleanser), but I couldn’t get past how dispassionately the movie Michael portrayed a reprehensible person’s reprehensible deeds. At least Chained knows it’s gross.
Chained is available on DVD.