I don’t know about you, but when I come home from a hard day working a job that is barely making ends meet to find my unconscious landlord in a bloody pulp lying in the floor, the last thing I want to do is keep him alive! Oh yeah, and the guy that beat him up and dumped him in my mudroom is accusing him of being a pedophile, so now I really have no reason to see this creepo continue to suck air. Yet, this is exactly the situation Romina (Lora Burke) is dealt when she arrives home on Halloween night from her job as a nurse, with plans to take her son trick-or-treating. And for some reason, which is only the beginning of this movie’s problems, Romina keeps this dude alive at the request of his abductor, Chris (Nick Smyth), who just wants a confession for raping his daughter and to continue beating the living hell out of him.
And that’s about all the plot we’re gonna get. For the Sake of Vicious starts in a slow burn that’s surprisingly compelling since Chris and Romina only speak in sentence fragments (kind of like the title) slowly revealing bits of information that make you want to think that what’s happening is more complex than it really is. But what we know for sure and why Romina was the lucky winner in the game of Save the Pedo Landlord is because she was Chris’ daughter’s attending nurse.
At one point you think Romina and Alan the landlord (Colin Paradine) could be an item, but then you’re never really sure one way or the other. And then Chris is eventually implicated in his daughter’s rape, but that never really checks out. We get some flashback business that shows what happened the night of the abduction. We see Alan’s cushy landlordy lifestyle that looks more like a Tony Soprano situation than a guy who has to call the water-heater repairman in the middle of the night. He’s even got some goons that seem to tag along with him wherever he goes!
Anyway, somewhere along the way, Alan, who’s been tied up this whole time, is cut loose by Romina and calls up his head-honcho goon who loads up a van of thugs in devil masks and dispatches the world’s most boring motorcycle gang to head over to Romina’s and rescue Alan. Motorcycle creeps with blunt weapons was this movie’s chance to long arm a Hail Mary into insanity, but instead these guys ride like they obey traffic laws. We eventually get to the rough stuff, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
So the devil goons and the motorcycle creeps descend on Romina’s house and a bloodbath ensues. It’s that kind of hard, creative violence where a toilet tank lid gets used to bash in a skull, and people get hammers to the knees, and knives broken off in the ribs, and claws to the balls (which should be the title of an extreme wrestling pay-per-view if anyone is listening), and eventually a crowbar through the skull. But the real problem with all this terrific, shaky camera violence is we never see actually any of the money shots. Sure, it looks painful, we know what’s happening, but lest ye forget, film is a visual medium. If I didn’t want to see the violence, I’d go read a poem about it.
Writing-directing duo Gabriel Career and Reese Eveneshen had good intentions in the spirit of exploitation, and definitely a great appreciation for the kind of violence that makes your teeth vibrate, but it seems like they play it all a little too safe, from the convoluted yet minimal plot to the missed opportunities for showing crazy motorcycle gangs and crowbars actually going through heads. It’ll be interesting to see what they do next, but For the Sake of Vicious just wasn’t vicious enough.
For The Sake Of Vicious is out now on Digital platforms.