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Review: Brutal ‘For the Sake of Vicious’ Screens at the Fantasia International Film Festival

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Review: Brutal 'For the Sake of Vicious' Screens at the Fantasia International Film Festival

For the Sake of Vicious is one hell of a ride. Written by Reese Eveneshen and co-directed by Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen, it’s a violent horror drama set on Halloween. Every film set on Halloween is immediately ten times more interesting because of the decor alone. Masks are fun.

A nurse, Romina, played by Lora Burke, returns home to find an intruder in her house. She assumes (wisely) that the man is malicious, so she attacks him to defend herself. But he’s not trying to hurt her; he just wants help. I’m not sure I’d believe him, but she does.

The strange man is Chris, played by Nick Smyth, and he knows her. Years ago, something terrible happened to his daughter. Romina was the nurse who cared for her at the hospital. On Halloween eve, Chris kidnapped the man who he believes assaulted his daughter. He begs Romina to help him. He doesn’t want the man to die because he wants answers and a confession. And if he has to beat it out of him, he will.

For the Sake of Vicious Image 1

For the Sake of Vicious, at heart, is a drama that twisted itself into horror by sheer force of will. It didn’t want to be a Pinter play. So, it added action and there’s a bunch of it: guns, beatings, killer-gangs, hand-to-hand combat, and a glorious trio of motorcycles. There are surprises, betrayals, and a final act that heightens into a bloodbath. I wouldn’t quite call it gore, but my idea of gore has changed over the years. Fulci has changed me.

Romina ends up being the most interesting character in Vicious. She establishes that in her first scene. When she leaves work, she picks candy out of the communal Halloween bowl for her son. A snarky nurse disapproves and says that her son enjoys candy as well. It’s Halloween, and her co-worker is mad at her for taking three candies out of a bowl? Kill me now. Romina digs deeper into the bowl, taking more candy before making eye-contact. Then leaves with a perky but firm, “have a good night!”

Burke’s acting in For the Sake of Vicious holds much of the story together. She’s great. She listens to the other actors, even when holding a weapon. She’s so good that I started wondering about her backstory. Why did she become a nurse? How did she become who she is? Who taught her how to smash a glass like a beer bottle? Or hold a gun?

For the Sake of Vicious Image 2

The film has a lot of great shots: pumpkins, a trio of motorcycles, scary Halloween masks. I love bright lights, so I loved the lighting in the film. I particularly liked the pink neon lighting and the orange holiday lights in the background. Alex Tong created some pretty cool cinematography with less money than a film with a bigger budget. That’s impressive for a DIY indie film shot in 15 days.

For the Sake of Vicious is a brutal horror drama, screening at The Fantasia International Film Festival. I expect to see it pop up on a streaming platform soon. If you like creepy masks, motorcycles, beatings, and intense dialogue, you won’t want to miss it.

For the Sake of Vicious Poster

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