The Task (2010) – Film Review

Contestants must survive a torturous reality show in order to survive... (is it just us or aren't all reality shows torture?)

Have you ever wondered what would happen if some enterprising TV producers kidnapped some reprobates off the streets and put them in a reality TV torture show in the grounds of a former prison run by a homicidal rape-happy maniac? No? Oh.

Well, from perennial horror favourites After Dark Originals, comes The Task – the latest no-budget, no-scare, no-acting, no enjoyment horror film in a long line of stinkers. Every caricature is here – the preppy, dumb blonde; the preening and effeminate gay man; the goth girl; and a host of others so dull and cardboard that you’ll think your TV ate a bowl of Weetabix.

The story is as simple as they come, and carries on like that until the requisite boring twist at the end. Granted, the twist is unexpected, but that’s because the twist is so stupid that you’d never have guessed it. Only the director of this shameful display, Alex Orwell, and his heartless and cynical band of cohorts could have guessed it. And written it down. And filmed it. And released it, in good faith. The clown on the front cover of the DVD is a misdirection, to try and cash in on the Saw phenomenon. This film is nowhere near as good as Saw – a surprising statement, granted, but in this case an accurate one – and is in fact one of the least original, least scary, and least enjoyable horror films of recent times.

Are there any good things about this film? Well, the location is great. Some of the scenes are quite atmospheric, and the whole sequence involving a man and some sewage is sort-of unintentionally funny. The problem with this film is that, from the very beginning, its ideas are muddled. The participants are kidnapped off the street, but they did all apply to be in a reality show. The whole kidnapping scene makes itself redundant as any tension that it creates is squashed about five minutes later. Throughout the film the contestants constantly refer to the prize money, which is their only justification for taking part in this whole sordid affair or, in one case, literally wading into shit. It’s impossible for the viewer not to see this as a keen metaphor for the production process of the film as a whole, in a way.

Best bit: The first twist, about ten/fifteen minutes into the film, really sets the viewer up properly for the kind of insultingly stupid film this is.

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