About a year ago, I started compiling every genre film I knew (and hundreds more I didn't know) into a list of potential episodes of the Filmgazm Podcast. I call this list the Book of Filmgazm and oftentimes, I will randomly select a film from the book to be an episode of our show. That's how I wound up watching For the Sake of Vicious, a brutal home invasion thriller that's short on plot but doubles down on violence. Not a bad film, but definitely missing something crucial to the storytelling process.
We are dropped smackdab in the middle of a tale of vengeance, and we don't even know who the hero is. We've got Chris (Smyth), a nutball with a big gun who has kidnapped Alan (Paradine), the man Chris believes raped his daughter. Chris brings Alan to the home of a nurse named Romina (Burke), because the nurse once treated Chris's daughter. Romina doesn't know what to do, but she's soon forced to help Chris fight off the gang of psychos who show up to kill Alan on behalf of their leader Gerald (Fler). It's never made all that clear who the hell Gerald is or what his history is with Alan or what they're a part of. Hell, the entire second half of the film has barely any dialogue, as we basically just watch Chris and Romina fuck up a bunch of bikers in Halloween masks, none of whom bothered to bring a gun to this job.
There's some great moments of gore and makeup effects, but you never really know what the hell is going on or how these characters all ended up here. But I will say that the fight scenes are damn good, and there are times where you forget you are watching a movie that gave up on the plot.
Thanks to a discussion with Filmgazm colleague, Connor, and getting into the annual spirit of making resolutions, I’ve decided to do my best to highlight the various new releases put on the streaming service, Shudder. Something I feel actually pretty strong about due to their commitment to take various festival films and other indie darlings and put them on their site for an even wider audience to check them out. For this particular horror fan who still has a Netflix DVD account, it’s helped me see some of the better horror films of the year. And what film kicked off this year? A little one called For the Sake of Vicious. A film about how far a person is willing to go for revenge mixed with some brutal gore effects and engaging fight scenes.
The plot of this film sees a grief-stricken father capture and torture the man he believes raped his daughter. He also takes him to the house of the nurse who took care of her to help keep him alive. For reasons. Admittedly, this film stumbles pretty hard in the story department. Instead of utilizing a straightforward approach, we are dropped into the middle of the story with no explanation. Answers are spread throughout the film’s runtime. This would work better if the story necessitated this decision, but it really doesn’t. It actually makes for a rather weak story. Where the filmmakers succeed, however, is the above-mentioned gore and fight scenes. The former is some of the more brutal I’ve seen and made me cringe numerous times. The latter, for a small indie film, is some of the dirtiest and realistic I’ve seen put on screen.
For the Sake of Vicious makes for a passable starting point for this year’s slate of Shudder films. The story may not be the most engaging, but it more than makes up for it in the gore and fight department. You just have to patient and wait for it to get there.