09th Sep2020

Fantasia 2020: ‘For the Sake of Vicious’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lora Burke, Colin Paradine, Nick Smyth, T.J. Kennedy, James Fler, Dorian Allen, Erin Stuart, Adam Ewings, Boris Milinkovich, Nick Spartan | Written by Reese Eveneshen | Directed by Gabriel Carrer, Reese Eveneshen

Actress Lora Burke has been on something of a roll when it comes to genre films – she was astonishing in 2017s Poor Agnes, amazing in 2018s Lifechanger and now she’s back with For the Sake of Vicious, a cross between a home invasion thriller and the John Carpenter classic Assault on Precinct 13.

Set on Halloween (when else?) For the Sake of Vicious opens with kindhearted nurse Romina (Lora Burke), after a long shift at the hospital, coming home and finding a hostage in her house! Chris (Nick Smyth) is demanding justice for a wrongdoing from his past, he’s angry, desperate, and has nothing left to lose. He’s owed a debt of blood and will not be satisfied until he gets a confession from his captive. As the mystery involving the three occupants begins to unravel, a plague of mercenaries – masked killers for hire – descend on Romina’s house…

Of course when people invade your home there’s only one thing to do right? Defend it. And yourself.

There really is a clue in the title of the film as to what to expect from Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s movie, after all it LITERALLY says vicious in the title… And boy does this film live up to it! Violence, bloodshed and gore abound here as Romina and Chris fight for the lives within the confines of Romina’s tiny home – with most of the action taking place in only two locations the kitchen and the bathroom, the latter of which is home to one of the films most vicious fights… Though EVERY fight in this film is honestly vicious!

Apparently filmed on a tight budget and tight schedule, with the performers all doing their own stunt work, For the Sake of Vicious is something of a nod to a different era of filmmaking, a grindhouse-like slice of violence that could have stepped out the same era, thematically, as films like the aforementioned Carpenter classic, and a myriad of “clones” that followed it – like Roberta Findlay’s Tenement. Of course stylistically this is worlds apart from those films, though thankfully despite advances in CGI, Carrer and Eveneshen stick to good old-fashioned practical effects for the films brutal action.

Like those films it pays homage to, For the Sake of Vicious also features a fantastic synth score that really helps the films pacing, creating tension, excitement and danger; really adding to the on screen events, ramping up the overall atmosphere of the film tremendously – and is something akin to, dare I say it, the wonderful synth scores of John Carpenter’s oeuvre!

Despite the obvious homages to other filmmakers work, there’s enough originality here to really show what co-directors Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen (who’ve already produced great solo films) can really do. Here’s hoping this partnership sticks together and brings us more instant grindhouse classics like this!

***** 5/5

For the Sake of Vicious screened as part of this years Fantasia Festival, which took place Aug 20th – Sept 2nd 2020.


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