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Chained (2012 film)

  (Redirected from Rabbit (2012 Film))

Chained is a 2012 Canadian psychological thriller slasher film directed by Jennifer Lynch that stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Julia Ormond, and Eamon Farren. D'Onofrio plays a serial killer who kidnaps and adopts a young boy, eventually turning him into his protege.

Promotional poster
Directed byJennifer Lynch
Produced byRhonda Baker
David Buelow
Lee Nelson
Screenplay byJennifer Lynch
Story byDamian O'Donnell
StarringVincent D'Onofrio
Julia Ormond
Eamon Farren
Music byClimax Golden Twins
CinematographyShane Daly
Edited byDaryl K. Davis
Chris A. Peterson
Release date
  • August 5, 2012 (2012-08-05) (Fantasia Festival)[1]
Running time
94 minutes



Nine-year-old Tim and his mother Sarah (Julia Ormond) are brought to the cinema by his father Brad (Jake Weber) who urges them to take a taxi instead of a bus when going home. After the show, Sarah wants to call a taxi but one is already arriving. They enter it but instead of taking them home, the driver, Bob (Vincent D'Onofrio), abducts them. At his home, he kills Sarah and makes Tim his slave for his housework, threatening him with beatings if he does not obey and giving him the new name "Rabbit". Tim tries to escape later, Bob even encourages him to run away, but knocks Tim out when he tries and chains him to the wall. Bob is revealed to be a serial killer who abducts young girls, then rapes and kills them at his home.

Nine years later, Tim is now a teenager and is still caught in Bob's home doing the housework and burying Bob's dead victims. It is revealed Bob and his brother were horrifically abused as children, so Bob acts as an ersatz stepfather, making Tim read books about the human body so that he learns how it works and is "educated." Bob also shows him a picture of Tim's father who has married a new wife and has had another son with her, making Tim believe that he has nobody else other than Bob to care for him. Later, Bob asks Tim if he also wants a girl and shows him the yearbook of a college to pick a victim. Tim initially refuses, angering Bob. Bob then forces Tim to choose a girl from the book, so he selects Angie and Bob abducts her.

Bob leaves Tim and Angie in a room, suggesting Tim rape and then kill the girl afterward with a knife. Tim hesitates, and bonds with Angie, but stabs her in the stomach when Bob barges in and demands he do so. He then buries her body with all the other victims.

Bob seems to be satisfied with Tim's development as after this Tim asks him to go out for a hunt. Bob takes him in the city with his cab, suggesting several potential victims, but Tim refuses. Bob wants to return home but discovers that Tim has written the word "help" with red lipstick on the side of the cab. Enraged, Bob strikes Tim and drives home. Bob then realizes that Tim had not killed Angie, but only stabbed her non-lethally using his knowledge of anatomy and hidden her where the other bodies are buried. He knocks Tim unconscious and enters the small room where Angie is lying, in order to kill her. Angie manages to cut Bob's Achilles tendon while Tim awakes and comes to save her. After a brawl, Tim kills Bob by cutting his throat and then buries him next to his victims.

Tim drives Bob's cab in the city to his old home, encountering his father Brad, his new wife Marie (Gina Philips) and his half-brother. His father is surprised to see him alive and feigns delight about this but then Tim confronts him with a letter he has found at Bob's home. This letter reveals that Bob is Brad's brother (and therefore Tim's uncle) and that Brad arranged the abduction of Tim and his mother as he wanted to get rid of them. Brad attacks Tim in anger and wants him to leave but Marie interferes as she is shocked about the revelation. Brad beats Marie and Tim tries to defend her but is knocked down by Brad, who continues to beat him and then attempts to rape or possibly kill Marie. Tim knocks Brad on the head with a glass, killing him. Marie then urges Tim to leave and calls the police, claiming that burglars have killed her husband. Tim is then seen walking back into the house he was held prisoner in.

In the closing credits there is no music, but instead the sounds of Tim entering the house, opening the fridge, cutting some paper (possibly a newspaper), walking back out into the garage, getting into the cab, and opening the garage door again. However, the engine is not started. It is left unknown.


Director Jennifer Lynch has a cameo as a cooking show host on TV.


The film was shot in Regina, Saskatchewan, over a period of 15 days. Lynch used the same crew as Surveillance.[3] The original concept came from a script by Damian O'Donnell. Although Lynch liked the script, she felt it was wrong for her, as she did not want to shoot a film in the style of torture porn. The producers explained that they wanted to see her take on the script, so she rewrote it to focus on the characters rather than gratuitous violence.[4] Lynch said that by focusing on the story, she was able to "humanise and explain – though not justify – the devastating behaviour that is a serial killer."[2]

D'Onofrio was drawn to the project by Lynch's involvement, as he had wanted to work with her on Boxing Helena.[5] Lynch had also wanted to work with D'Onofrio,[6] but the role was not specifically written for him.[4] Lynch was drawn to D'Onofrio, who was always her first choice, because the part required an actor that was capable of showing an injured inner child. Because D'Onofrio was willing to do this, Lynch praised his performance as brave.[7] Farren and D'Onofrio worked well together on the set, which D'Onofrio credits for their on-screen chemistry. The actors used very little improvisation.[4] For Bob, D'Onofrio said that he needed to find the character's moral compass, even though Bob is a serial killer. As a character actor, D'Onofrio said that he is drawn to fascinating characters, no matter how flawed.[5] Farren was impressed with Lynch's cover letter for the script reader and got along very well with her when they spoke. On set, Farren and Lynch collaborated easily, and Farren said that she did not need to give much direction to him.[8] Lynch recruited Bird, who played the young Rabbit, over Skype after the casting crew recommended him. Lynch said that his audition tape gave her chills.[9]

The film is a study of how monsters are made, and Lynch says that she wanted to "promote a dialogue about child abuse."[10] Through Bob's back story, Lynch attempted to show how society had turned him into a monster through child abuse. With Rabbit, she wanted to explore the theme of "nature vs nurture".[6] Farren described Rabbit as a stunted child, a nineteen-year-old man who stopped emotionally maturing at nine.[8] Rabbit did not become what Lynch called "a full blown replica of Bob" because he has a loving childhood. This allowed Lynch to compare and contrast how the two men turned out.[11] Lynch did not want to perpetuate the cycle of violence and make Rabbit into a killer, which she said would have been boring.[9]

Lynch was contractually obligated to keep the film to a certain run time, so she had to abbreviate the plot twist. Although she recognizes that some people find it to be tacked on, she said that a director's cut would expand on it and make it more natural. The ending scene is meant to be hopeful, and Lynch says that she sees it as both realistic and happy.[9]


Chained had its world premiere at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal on 5 August 2012.[1] Anchor Bay Entertainment released it direct-to-video on DVD and Blu-ray in the US on 2 October 2012.[12] Although there was money budgeted for a director's cut, they had to use it in other areas. Lynch still wants to do a director's cut eventually.[6]

The film was originally rated NC-17 by the MPAA for "some explicit violence". Lynch appealed the rating, but it was upheld. She later edited the film to achieve an R rating. Kevin Carney of Anchor Bay said that films with comparable violence were rated R for arbitrary reasons, and Lynch said that her films were targeted with NC-17 ratings for their authenticity and intensity, which, according to her, "rewards a casual attitude toward violence."[13] Lynch later said that NC-17 had failed, as audiences still associated it with the old X rating.[14] The NC-17 scene that was cut is included as a special feature.[12]

Lynch stated that she would have preferred to release the film under its working title Rabbit, but the studio would not comply.[4]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 73% of 15 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 5.3/10.[15] Dennis Harvey of Variety compared it to Boxing Helena in terms of misogyny and called it "a repugnant exercise in physical and psychological sadism" and "a redundant wallow in arted-up, torture-porn cruelty."[16] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian rated it 1/5 stars and called it a "fantastically crass and fatuous serial-killer movie".[17] David Hughes of Empire rated it 2/5 stars and described it as "plenty nasty but singularly lacking in clever new twists on a weary genre."[18] Matt Glasby of Total Film rated it 3/5 stars and wrote, "Ripped from the headlines, Lynch's disturbing portrait of a serial killer is let down at the last by a conclusion that clumsily unpicks everything we've invested in."[19] Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph rated it 1/5 and called it "a lurid disgrace".[20] Rod Lott of the Oklahoma Gazette wrote that the first half is "absorbing and tense", but the film becomes predictable and slow-paced.[21] Scott A. Gray of Exclaim! wrote that it is a "deeply disturbing, but deeply human look at the causation of cyclical violence" that could become a cult film if re-released under Lynch's supervision.[22] Simon Foster of the Special Broadcasting Service rated it 3.5/5 stars and called it a "bleak, claustrophobic and brutal serial killer drama."[23] Scott Weinberg of Fearnet wrote that the film is subversive and disturbing but becomes uneven and more traditional later.[24] Lauren Taylor of Bloody Disgusting rated it 4/5 stars and wrote, "Chained takes a typical tale of an abused child growing up to become a serial killer and makes it something that is Oscar worthy."[25] Serena Whitney of Dread Central rated it 3.5/5 stars and wrote, "Not since American Psycho have audiences experienced a clever dissection of the appalling misogyny displayed in the serial killer subgenre from a female perspective".[26] Jamie S. Rich of DVD Talk rated it 1.5/5 stars and said that D'Onofrio's cartoony performance makes Bob seem comical rather than unsettling.[27] Bill Gibron of DVD Verdict wrote that it is "a complicated bit of brutality" that "highlights Lynch's struggling strengths…and obvious weaknesses."[28]


  1. ^ a b Knegt, Peter (2012-06-20). "Fantasia Fest Announces First Wave of Programming; Jennifer Lynch's "Chained" to Have World Premiere". Indiewire. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  2. ^ a b Siemienowicz, Rochelle (2013-04-09). "Chained: Jennifer Lynch interview". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  3. ^ Bain, Whitney Scott (2012-09-20). "Interview: Jennifer Lynch, Director of CHAINED". Starburst. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  4. ^ a b c d Doupe, Tyler (2012-10-01). "Shock Interview: Chained Director & Star Jennifer Lynch, Vincent D'Onofrio". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  5. ^ a b Wixson, Heather (2012-10-04). "Exclusive: Vincent D'Onofrio Talks Chained, Sinister and More". Dread Central. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  6. ^ a b c Wixson, Heather (2012-10-08). "Exclusive: Filmmaker Jennifer Lynch on Human Monsters, Battling the MPAA for Chained and More". Dread Central. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  7. ^ Dickson, Evan (2012-10-02). "[Interview] Director Jennifer Lynch Talks 'Chained', 'A Fall From Grace' And 'The Monster Next Door'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  8. ^ a b Wixson, Heather (2012-10-04). "Exclusive: Co-Star Eamon Farren Discusses Jennifer Lynch's Chained and More". Dread Central. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  9. ^ a b c Wax, Alyse (2012-10-23). "Exclusive: We Get 'Chained' to Director Jennifer Lynch". Fearnet. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  10. ^ Cripps, Charlotte (2012-07-28). "Observations: Keep it in the family: the dark visions of Jennifer Lynch". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  11. ^ McConnachie, Garry (2013-02-01). "Director Jennifer Lynch: I decided to shoot Chained just so I could work again". Daily Record. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  12. ^ a b Miska, Brad (2012-07-23). "Anchor Bay Dates 'Chained' For Home Video With NC-17 Scene Included As An Extra". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  13. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (2012-05-03). "MPAA: Director to recut 'Chained,' but asks why she needs to". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  14. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (2012-08-18). "High hopes, low notes for film world's NC-17 rating". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  15. ^ "Chained (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  16. ^ Harvey, Dennis (2012-10-04). "Review: 'Chained'". Variety. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  17. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (2013-01-31). "Chained – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  18. ^ Hughes, David. "Chained". Empire. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  19. ^ Glasby, Matt (2013-01-18). "Tense serial killer thriller from Jennifer Chambers Lynch". Total Film. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  20. ^ Robey, Tim (2013-02-01). "Films in brief: Bullhead, A Place in the Sun, Chained". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  21. ^ Lott, Rod (2012-10-08). "Chained". Oklahoma Gazette. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  22. ^ Gray, Scott A. (2012-11-05). "Chained [Blu-Ray] Directed by Jennifer Lynch". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  23. ^ Foster, Simon. "Chained". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  24. ^ Weinberg, Scott (2012-08-07). "FEARNET Movie Review: 'Chained'". Fearnet. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  25. ^ Taylor, Lauren (2012-10-01). "[BD Review] D'Onofrio Steals The Show In 'Chained'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  26. ^ Whitney, Serena (2012-08-31). "Chained (2012)". Dread Central. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  27. ^ Rich, Jamie S. (2012-10-22). "Chained (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  28. ^ Gibron, Bill (2012-11-16). "Chained (Blu-ray)". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2014-04-06.

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