Fantasia Festival Review: For The Sake of Vicious

Year: 2020
Runtime: 81 minutes
Writer/Directors: Gabriel Carrer & Reese Evenshen
Stars: Lora Burke, Nick Smyth, Colin Paradine

By Mique Watson

Three unreliable people, a house lit with shades of yellow evocative of a Roger Deakins’ film, and a pulsating score. This is what “For The Sake of Vicious”, the latest film by Gabriel Carrer and Reese Evenshen offers. Debuting at this year’s Fantasia Film Fest, this picture has all the makings of a trademark midnight movie. It wastes no time setting itself up for carnage to ensue, and ensue it does…and this is before a bloodthirsty biker gang shows up! 

There’s a certain appeal to the ambiguity that the film presents us with on the onset; we begin with the image of a disgruntled man in a state of panic. (Note: this film is so fast, we barely get any time to learn any of these characters’ names. Let’s call him Chris; IMDB says so–he’s portrayed by Nick Smyth) Chris seems to have a personal vendetta with Alan (Colin Paradine), and is holding him captive… where? 

for the sake

“This picture has all the makings of a trademark midnight movie. It wastes no time setting itself up for carnage to ensue, and ensue it does…”

Enter Romina (Lora Burke), a mother of a young child (and implied divorcée); she works as a nurse and has just finished a shift. It’s Halloween night and she drives herself home with a fistful of candies in her pocket (she swiped them from the front desk of the clinic she works at). She gets home and sees none other than Chris and Alan.

Naturally, we’re yelling at the screen, telling her to run. And run she does, until Chris catches up with her. We’re, at first, as confused as she is as to why these two mysterious men are in her house. One thing leads to another, and we hear both Chris and Alan make their case. Tensions and emotions are heightened, vengeance and retribution are thrown into the mix, and our heroine has found herself between a rock and a hard place. 

“The direction is quite wonky at times, and not all questions are fully satisfied. Nonetheless, this picture exudes the quintessential delights of a new midnight favorite.”

for the sake of vicious

The fun begins in the last thirty minutes–before you’re able to make up your mind about who is telling the truth, a biker gang shows up with a purpose. The finale presents us with a stunning example of resourcefulness on everyone’s part. Nearly anything in arm’s reach, that can be held with a human palm, is creatively used as a weapon on someone else… with blood-splattering, visceral, gritty results. 

Vicious has the appeal of a delightful midnight slasher. Burke bears an uncanny resemblance to actor Emily Watson. She over-emotes and has a perpetual deer-caught-in-headlights expression; she looks perpetually confused, and understandably so. The direction is quite wonky at times, and not all questions are fully satisfied. Nonetheless, this picture exudes the quintessential delights of a new midnight favorite. Although it might be a challenge distinguishing itself from the pack, audiences clamoring for gore and viscera could do worse. 

3 stars

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