Fantasia XXIV Review: FOR THE SAKE OF VICIOUS Stares In The Darkest Corners Of Humanity With Killing Intent
Gabriel Carrer was directing movies long before blowing audiences away in 2015 and onward with vigilante thriller, The Demolisher. He’s definitely gotten his feet more than wet in the thriller genre, and now returns to the festival circuit, paired at the helm with equally-talented Defective and Dead Genesis director Reese Eveneshen, crafting another formidable thriller in For The Sake Of Vicious which runs as high and promising on the violence teased back in May.
Both Carrer and Eveneshen wore several hats on this production, sharing the set with a small crew and filming in a span of fifteen days with three more for pick-ups, and a cast in Lori Burke, Nick Smyth, Colin Paradine and James Fler more than capable of performing their own stunts throughout the film with T.J. Kennedy and Adam Ewings coordinating the on-screen brutality. The result is pensive, brooding, elevated genre thriller that lives within every moment of trepidation that plays out from start to finish.
The story unfolds on a gradual basis, introducing Romina (Burke), a nurse just arriving home on the eve of Halloween only to find it being occupied by Chris (Smyth), a man turned deranged and desperate over a period of time, and Alan (Paradine), Chris’s innoculated, bruised and bloodied captive who just happens to be Romina’s landlord. Reasonably reluctant and fearing for her life, Romina agrees to let Chris show her a series of photos which turn out to be that of Chris’s daughter, raped years earlier by the man he suspects is Alan, who remains gagged and tied to a chair in the kitchen.
What ensues is an unraveling of a complex hostage situation made even more worse and complicated, thanks to Alan’s own recalcitrance and apprehension, on top of Chris’s violent resolve to get a confession at any cost. Chris is driven mad from the rape of his daughter, and the lack of a conviction against Alan, though he’s thoroughly convinced that Alan is the guilty party, forcing Romina to try and contain the situation for her own sake with as minimal involvment as possible.
Acceding to Alan’s requests, Romina frees him just enough to let him use for the phone to contact someone to end the stand off, and it turns out to be the biggest mistake he would ever make. No longer a contained home invasion, Romina and Chris, AND Alan, are thrust into an all-out fight to the bloody finish with Alan’s “associate”, Gerald (Fler), and his menacing motorcycle minions who’ve descended unto Romina’s home with no good intentions whatsoever. When all the blood-drenched cards are on the table and the body count is finished, almost no one will be spared.
Written by Carrer and Eveneshen, For The Sake Of Vicious weaves its story together in slow spurts, inching the plot forward just a little more between character exchanges. After a short while between slow-downs is when the plot kicks back in, and in the course of entertaining the viewer, things get intense with intricate scenes of emotional upheaval, and gruesome torture – particularly involving Chris with a hammer as he presses Alan for the truth.
The action commences about forty minutes in, and the weapons of choice range anywhere from a hammer and a handgun, to knives, broken glass, a crowbar, and basically any fixture Chris and Romina can grab within arm’s reach. Entire rooms get demolished, with blood coating everyone involved in the skirmish. People are shot, sliced and stabbed, knees and collar bones are broken, heads are either bloodied, bludgeoned or pounded in, eyes are gouged out, and throats are slit with unwavering torment.
Mixed with an intense synth score by Carrer and Foxgrndr, For The Sake Of Vicious is the kind of contained thriller that is wholly geared toward the R-rated crowd. Shy of being any sort of sociopolitical allegory, the film takes aim and hits dead on as a dramatic action thriller with a seething music score and foreboding essence, and a ruminative approach to an explosive, gory and punishing finale where there are no happy endings. Just a bag of candy, and waterworks.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.