For The Sake of Vicious (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

The visceral raw energy and violence of Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s “For the sake of Vicious” is bound to be compared to the masterpieces like “The Green Room” very soon. The set up at least conjures up memories of “Assault on Precinct 13” except in a smaller scale. In either case, it’s a classic white knuckle home invasion siege thriller that spares no one, even when it successfully builds on empathetic and fascinating protagonists.

Romina is an overworked nurse and single mother who comes home one Halloween night to find desperate Chris (Nick Smyth), a man who has injured and kidnapped wealthy criminal Alan (Colin Paradine). He wants Romina to keep him alive until he can finish extracting information about a case involving the murder of his daughter. While Romina is anxious to stay out of harm’s way, she’s forced in the middle of an emotional stand off that escalates in to pure carnage.

What “For the Sake of Vicious” has in its corner is gut wrenching tension that amps up minute by minute. The moment we meet Romina we can never be sure if she’s cut out to make it through this carnage and chaotic circumstance. But the more the night descends in to bloodshed, and pure sadistic torture, she proves to herself that she’s capable of surviving so much more than her male counterparts. Lora Burke is fantastic in the role of Romina stealing just about every scene as an emotionally and physically exhausted woman and single mom. She has no choice but to attend to this apparently important confrontation of false accusations and gang members that sink her deeper and make it impossible to duck out as the night presses on.

She works beautifully off of Nick Smyth whose anti-hero allows for many conversations about morality and the cost of revenge in the bigger picture. He’s a man with seemingly no other options, and he inevitably will have to fight to make it to the other end. The claustrophobia of the situation is only enhanced by the small setting established primarily in a small kitchen, where Romina has to act on instinct on who to trust and what action to take in her best interest. “For the Sake of Vicious” is relentless and ruthless in its violence and brisk brutal pacing, and both directors don’t fail to pay off with a climax that will assuredly inspire many gasps, and cringes of disgust. I hope horror fans seek this out when it becomes available, as it’s a gem that will definitely improve more and more on repeated viewings.

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs every year, and this year runs virtually from August 20th until September 2nd.