“The Lost” opens by telling us that once upon a time there was a boy who stuffed crushed beer cans into his boots to make himself seem taller. This is a surprisingly effective way to sum up the character of Ray Pye. Ray is a loser. A motel manager and part time drug dealer that treats his friends like dirt. However, in Ray’s mind he is a god. He is Elvis or James Dean. A king of self-deception.
And Ray has a secret. 4 years ago he killed two girls in the woods because he thought they were “lezzies” and he thought it would be fun. His friends were there and now live in such fear of Ray that they wouldn’t dare turn him in. A local cop is all but sure Ray is guilty but as of yet has not been able to prove it. The movie starts with Ray in control of both his friends and the cops. He is still king.
However, Ray’s friends are getting sick of the way he treats them. Jennifer, Ray’s “girlfriend”, and Tim, Ray’s sidekick, begin to have an affair behind Ray’s back, the cops are closing in, and a new girl who threatens Ray’s sense of superiority has entered his life. All this leads to his eventual meltdown.
“The Lost” is a tough movie to review because it achieves what it set out to accomplish but is almost unwatchable. The movie is supposed to be a character study of Ray Pye, a character that is annoying, violent, loud, and misogynistic. Therefore, the movie is annoying, violent, loud, and misogynistic. Rarely have I seen so many people with their heads in their hands during a movie, unwilling to watch another second of what was on screen. The treatment of women in this movie is appalling. The first one to appear onscreen appears fully nude and is brutally murdered shortly thereafter. The movie takes great care to make sure that every prominent female in the film takes gets naked, abused, and, more often than not, killed. The end of the movie is a scene of non stop brutality that assaults you with images and the tortured screams of the abused women.
If there were some reason for this, a point to it all, I could accept it. As it is, however, there is no redeeming factor. We are presented with a thoroughly despicable human being and are forced to watch as he does thoroughly despicable things. So, if that sounds like your cup of tea then this movie delivers in spades.
It is worth noting that this is based on a novel by Jack Ketchum and I have been told it is a very good adaptation. However, I think this speaks less for the quality of the movie than it does for the quality of the book.