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Torture: Inside Kenyan Christian horror film

Saturday April 21 2018

Peter Kawa (right) starring as Judge Harvey in Hearts of Art's play

Peter Kawa (right) starring as Judge Harvey in Hearts of Art's play "All I Ever Wanted". PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

HILLARY KIMUYU
By HILLARY KIMUYU
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Kenyan director Peter Kawa gives a chilling take on Christianity and salvation in his latest short film Torture, which will leave you with the chills.

Starring award-winning actor Gerald Langiri, Wanjiku Mburu, George Mo and Blessing Lung’aho, the 10-minute film brings his creativity closer to home.

HORROR

The thriller starts with a horrendous scene, as screams of agony and pleas for help engulf the air. A deep robotic voice opens the scene, saying, “They are trespassing, throw them in there.”

“It’s dark. Screams!! Bodies hanging. They are all hung up, as though ready for slaughter…” the synopsis reads in part.

What pulls you in as the movie progresses is when you see several people, mostly youngsters, hanging in a room with fresh wounds and blood oozing out of their bodies as a result of torture.

Torture was a passion project born out of the need to see others in bondage set free, and know that they can be free indeed. It was shot in one day, in Ngong, and received the support of Mercy Masika. The shoot took a toll on the actors, who were hung upside down most of the time,” said Kawa. 

TORMENT

In the movie, one leader is orchestrating their torment. Among the captured is Victoria (Wanjiku Mburu), who hangs upside down and has several cuts on her face.

It is a dark period. Screams and wails engulf the entire room until someone eventually shows up. The background of darkness, the sound, the screams, all go with the theme and will keep the viewer intrigued.

The creepiest part is when the tormentor starts to skin Victoria’s cheeks. Her screams are deafening and the director gives the viewer a close up shot.

Langiri is convincing as a ‘tormentor of souls’ and Lung’aho comes as the ‘saviour’. The viewer gets to understand that the people who are being tortured are not the only ones, as we hear more pangs of pain echoed outside the room.

Kawa adds that Torture is a movie about people screaming in a dark room as they are being tormented, which is about “bondage or enslavement.”

LEAVING A MARK

Kenyan short films are currently enjoying a great moment as most are being released on social media so that people can see what Kenya has to offer.

From Intellectual Scum and Watu Wote, which both received wide acclaim recently with the latter bagging an Academy Award nomination, Kenyan artistes are showing that they can go the extra mile even without the government’s help.

Perhaps, instead of focusing on big-budget movies, this could be the way forward for our film industry. Torture is currently streaming on YouTube.

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