Bob is a taxi driver who also happens to be a serial killer, who patrols the city at night looking for female victims to bring back home and brutally murder. He happens upon a woman and her eight year old son, Tim, outside a movie theater, and picks them up. He brings them to his house, and leaves Tim locked inside the cab while he drags his mother inside and murders her. Bob decides to keep Tim, to make the most of his being there even though it wasn't in his plans. He decides to call him Rabbit, chains him up, forces him to cook for him, clean up after the murders, and basically care for him in any way he sees fit. If Rabbit doesn't submit, he gets beaten. Years pass, and as Tim gets older, Bob attempts to turn him into his protege, teaching him all he knows about murder. He begins by giving him biology text books, encouraging Tim to learn as much about the human body as possible. When the time finally comes for Tim to choose his first victim, he resists, which only makes Bob more insistent. Tim struggles with his twisted sense of loyalty to Bob, and his unwillingness to take another human's life, all the while wondering where his real father is, and why he eventually gave up on looking for him.
I hate it when people over-analyze movies, I really do. I'm perfectly capable of looking over little story inconsistencies, and even glaring plot holes from time to time. But when something happens that is so obviously out of the way, so much so that it's basically the movie giving you a big wink that "this is happening now because it plays into the twist at the end that you aren't supposed to see coming", it irks the shit out of me. Unfortunately Chained gave me the old wink and nudge pretty early on, and while I hadn't necessarily nailed the twist down to the detail, I had more or less figured things out. I always hope I'm wrong, and the movie will flip the script on me, making me feel stupid for thinking I had it figured out the whole time. Chained didn't.
Everything else about the movie is great though, which only added to my disappointment. The pacing was good, there was some clever camera work, and the performances were all solid. Vincent D'Onofrio is particularly good as Bob. So many times we are presented psychopaths in movies and either given a quick, watered down cliche of a back story, or no explanation at all, as to why they're crazy. Chained gives us an extremely disturbing look at a younger Bob and his home life with an alcoholic, abusive father. As a matter of fact, despite all the killing that took place in this movie, Bob's back story is hands down what got to me the most. I'm not saying it's right for Bob to do what he does, but goddamn, if I had been through what he had, I probably would've been severely fucked up too. Eamon Farren also did a fine job as "Older Rabbit", the one that gets the most screen time, and has the most interaction with Bob. You can't help but feel sorry for the character given what he's been through, and Farren has that "broken and lost" look to him that plays perfectly to the role.
Chained ended up being a disappointment, only because of my expectations going in to it. Had I just decided to watch it, knowing absolutely nothing about it, I can't help but think my opinion would've been extremely different. As it stands, it was a perfectly enjoyable thriller, well done, well acted, but a tad predictable. This is the kind of movie that I could see myself getting wrapped up in if I ran across it on HBO while channel surfing or something. Going into it hoping for way more from it ended up being it's downfall for me.