(Eric Colvin, Nadja Brand Mason, et al / DVD / NR / (2006) 2007 / IFC Films)
Overview: Hope and her young daughter are abducted and brought to a remote forest by a mysterious and nameless man. As Hope is forced to undergo a series of humiliating, violent, and degrading trials, she fights desperately to escape and discover the fate of her missing daughter.
DVD Verdict: We start off with what equates to a visual gut punch: a girl wakes up in a coffin, terrified, as we all would be in such a situation. She manages to get the lid off the box only to discover that it wasn’t below ground in the first place, and for a moment she believes she is free. A rifle butt to the face derails that line of thought, however, and when she wakes up this time, her situation is much worse.
Balanced precariously on some sticks and stones, she is tied to a tree by her neck. The only way to cut the rope and free herself is to pry open the newly-stitched wound on her stomach to remove the razor blade a maniac has stored there. I won’t spoil it for you, but needless to say, she doesn’t exactly make it!
Cut to a few weeks later and we’re introduced to Hope (Brand), a name that I’m sure was not chosen at random. She’s a single mom who’s just gotten back on the dating scene, and everything seems to be going well for her... until she, too, wakes up in a coffin and finds herself in the same predicament as the last girl. Hope makes it, however, but her reward isn’t pleasant; she’s to stay with the nameless madman (Colvin), disavowing any knowledge of her past life and being treated as a slave.
The Man, as the credits refer to him, lives in the middle of woods with only a poorly constructed lean-to serving as any sort of shelter. Hope perseveres despite numerous cruelties, at first hoping to be reunited with her six-year-old daughter at some point and later, once she’s resigned herself to the fact that her daughter is dead, to live long enough to enact her revenge.
Aside from the opening scenes there’s surprisingly little bloodshed as the torture turns psychological rather than physical, with some painful exceptions, when Hope becomes The Man’s slave. The final bit of violence between the two is especially vicious, I should add, and like the rest of the film certainly not for the squeamish. Or for those who have a Dammers-esque reaction to women screaming, cause by God is there a lot of that going on! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Feature Commentary with Writer/Directors Adam Mason and Simon Boyes
I Want You To Break: The Making of 'Broken'
An Interview with Actress Nadja Brand