By: Sean Brickley
One thing that I’ve noticed since I began working for Horror News Network is that some of the movies we receive to review don’t generally fall under the category of “horror.” True, they have factors that tie them into the genre, but overall have a different feel than what I would personally consider to be “horror.” Scorned, while rather enjoyable, is one of those movies. Sure it has its gruesome moments but overall it felt more like a dark comedy.
Our feature opens with a sequence showing various text messages back and forth discussing a rendezvous of an adult nature between two unnamed people. It is revealed that this tryst will occur after he breaks up with his current girlfriend. At this point, the title of the movie plus the direction of this conversation is ample foreshadowing of what is to come.
Kevin (Billy Zane) awakens tied to a chair. The reason for his restraints is Sadie, his girlfriend (AnnaLynne McCord), who has also drugged him. It’s fairly obvious that she’s seen the conversation between Kevin and her best friend, Jennifer (Viva Bianca). This is where I began to see more traces of this qualifying for the dark comedy genre. While she is raging over, as she puts it, being scorned, she does a damned good job of glazing her anger over with calm yet thick sarcasm. She maintains this vicious yet quirky demeanor throughout virtually the entire movie. All Kevin can do in his drugged state is mumble that he’s sorry.
Flashing back to 28 hours prior: Sadie is out to lunch with Jennifer. She’s gushing with joy and is positive that her boyfriend is going to propose to her. She wants Jennifer to be her maid of honor and Jennifer does her best to act happy while still trying to subtly talk Sadie down from her elation. At this point the viewer is the only party who knows the real reason behind Jennifer’s apprehension.
Soon after, Kevin and Sadie drive out to the woods for a weekend getaway. Sadie sees the lake in back and begins running toward it while ripping off her clothes. Once on the beach she has a bit of a flashback to her childhood where we see her sister drowning, so we know she has a certain amount of trauma floating around in her memory. Shaking off the image she runs into the water with Kevin in tow. They have a pretty intimate moment in the water before storm clouds begin rolling in so they run back to the house before the storm hits. While Kevin is relaxing outside, Sadie heads inside to dry their clothes. Guess what she finds: his phone. And what does she see on his phone? Why, his conversation with Jennifer of course (although from what I’ve heard about it, if it had been that Flappy Birds game that would have also been enough to unhinge Sadie). Instead of immediately going to confront him, she smokes a cigarette and a plan begins to form.
Outside the storm is raging. Inside Sadie, by now, is pretty drunk. While Kevin is relaxing she asks him to tell her that he loves her again. She then begins grilling him about their relationship before ultimately asking him if he’d ever cheat on her, which he says he wouldn’t. She begins pulling down his pants again, playing into the possibility of more intimacy… then she maces him and smashes him over the head, knocking him out.
This brings us back to where the movie began. Kevin is tied to the chair and Sadie is taunting him. She informs him that she is pregnant and that she has also stopped taking her lithium. Not only that but she’s texting Jennifer from Kevin’s phone, posing as him, saying that he broke up with her. Jennifer is then invited out to the woods for a romantic weekend together, which she willingly accepts.
Before Jennifer’s arrival Sadie makes it look like Kevin has gone to great lengths to make this a memorable weekend for her. She makes a trail of rose petals, then texts Jennifer to tell her to take off her clothes and follow the petals into the bedroom while on her hands and knees. While she thinks it a bit strange, Jennifer cooperates and crawls into the bedroom. There she is attacked by Sadie and eventually wakes up handcuffed to a rail. Sadie then cuts her hair telling her that Kevin likes his women clean, while also having flashbacks to cutting her sister’s hair.
From this point on, it’s a tongue-in-cheek romp through creative torture. To be clear, it’s not consistent torture, non-stop until the end. It’s a pretty good mix of revenge and witty, sarcastic humor. Prior to this movie I was relatively unfamiliar with AnnaLynne McCord’s body… of work. I am guilty of just associating her with the whole 90210 rehash so I didn’t really give her that much credit. After seeing Scorned though, I’m kind of impressed by her. She plays crazy really well. Additionally, Billy Zane made the best of a role that was spent continually being drugged on Vicodin. He has a couple of slurred one-liners whose delivery drew some hefty chuckles from me. Even Viva Bianca, whom I know even less about, did a pretty good job playing Jennifer, the best friend ho.
I must give fair warning though. Whoever was put in charge of working on the soundtrack to this movie – holy crap. This person needs to look into a new line of work that allows for people to be completely tone deaf. I fully understand that smaller budget movies don’t have millions to spend stroking bigger musicians’ egos, but there is a vast wealth of good underground music out there that would have probably cost less to use in this film than whatever the train wreck is that was ultimately chosen. Put simply: deaf people procreate with better harmony.
All auditory disturbances aside, again this was a pretty decent dark comedy. It’s no Heathers or 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag, but I think it holds its own for what it is. At the very least it will make men think twice about cheating on their girlfriends, particularly with their girlfriends’ best friends. Besides, why would Billy Zane want to cheat on AnnaLynne McCord anyway? She’s very nice looking and he’s not getting any younger.
Red Band Trailer: