Fantasia Festival 2020 – Film Review – For the Sake of Vicious (2020)

It’s Halloween and knackered nurse Romina returns home to find a sex case shitstorm in her crummy apartment. A literal kitchen sink courtroom drama ensues as she is forced to mediate between hostage and crazed abductor.

Just as she is reaching the end of her arbitrational tether, waves of masked killers launch an assault of unbridled violence. Romina quickly realises that if she is to survive she must punch her own batshittery button and wade into the tsunami of carnage that has invaded her home.

This gloriously crass, headcase of a midnight movie, from directors Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen, represents a new lowest common denominator in exploitation cinema. A triumph of barbaric flair over narrative substance, it exemplifies the grassroots, on the fly, constitution that made One Cut of the Dead so palatable to genre fans.  

Shot in just 15 days by a skeleton crew, with actors responsible for their own stunt work, the first casualty, as you might expect, is the battered and burned corpse of subtlety. Seriously, For the Sake of Vicious makes Terrifier look like Zabriskie Point.

It toys mischievously with the notion of a tangible narrative, like a one-eyed feline ally scrapper, before biting its head clean off and staging a world record attempt for the most people fucked up in a food preparation area. There will be blood! Stabbings! Many more stabbings! And white goods turning the work surfaces red!

As an artistic accomplishment, it is the cinematic equivalent of a Jackson Pollock, in the medium of erythrocytes and faecal residue. Splatter enough human matter across the canvas and iconic shapes will burst forth from the ruddy pustules of chaos.

Witness the psychotic Stig who chalks his victims up on the side of his white helmet like a deranged Baron von Richthofen. The Raid meets Agust Underground fight scenes with an unquenchable thirst for knee and leg violations. The hilarious vodka break Romina takes, like an alcoholic marathon runner at a moonshined water station. The implementation of real-life biker gangs and handles derived from the NATO phonetic alphabet. The minimalist techno beats of Julian Winding keeping company with the hard-nosed Canadian punk of Redeemer on the soundtrack.

All of the above, and more, point to an almost preordained date with future cult status.

For the Sake of Vicious represents an unapologetic reclamation of grindhouse abasement from the glory boys of pretentious genre mismanagement. A mean and muddy shock troop, with no morals to preach and a scorched earth agenda of pure visceral entertainment.

If these reprobates honour their roots and nurture their austere edges then a more disciplined and solvent venture could be mindblowing.

★★★★★

World Premiere   Fantasia Film Festival  2020      Selection 2020     Live

Wed Sep 02, 2020  7:30 PM    

Thriller, Action, Home invasion horror | Canada | 2020 | 81 mins | Raven Banner Entertainment | Dirs. Gabriel Carrer, Reese Eveneshen | With: Lora Burke, Nick Smyth, Colin Paradine