[Fantasia 2020 Review] Trick-r-Treaters From Hell Come Knocking in Indie Action Film FOR THE SAKE OF VICIOUS

Indie film is firing on all cylinders when it’s at its most ambitious, and that’s exactly what you’re in for with For The Sake of Vicious. Indie Horror is never a surprise in the low-budget market but Indie Action is another thing altogether. Action sequences are complicated, they require significantly more choreographing than your typical slasher film and it’s hard to find excuses to fight in a single location…unless, of course, you’re making a siege film. For The Sake of Vicious is a one-night-from-hell standoff between a gang of maniacs and three unprepared people in way over their head on Halloween night.

Directed by Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen (who also holds writing credits for the film as well) For The Sake of Vicious celebrated it’s world premiere at the 2020 Fantasia Film Festival and was the talk of the virtual press lounge weeks before the festival had even begun. The film stars Lora Burke (Lifechanger, Poor Agnes), Nick Smyth (Street Cents), and Nightmare on Film Street’s own Colin Paradine (Defective).

 



Hot at the Shop:


 

Romina’s (Lora Burke) Halloween Night plans are thrown out the window when she comes home to find her landlord, Alan (Colin Paradine), beaten and tied to a chair in her kitchen. After a quick scuffle with a stranger who Romina eventually recognizes as Chris (Nick Smyth), Romina is roped into a twisted vigilante plot to find answers and closure to a tragic event that has ruined Chris‘ life. Alan claims innocence but he isn’t exactly a model citizen and soon his business partners come knocking on Romina‘s front door. What was originally a desperate attempt at a torture-induced confession becomes a fight for survival after everyone in the house is marked for death by a ruthless crime lord.

Siege movies are simple and rarely over-complicate themselves. For The Sake of Vicious is no different but it really requires you to “just go with it” in some key story elements. I don’t know that ever really understood exactly why this woman would risk a prison sentence for a relative stranger that helped himself to her house to carry out his plans. That said, I can see how it would be hard for someone to say no after hearing his story, which was surprisingly dark and really asks the viewer to get up close and personal with child abuse. Pacing is always a hurdle with single-location movies and the performances can really make or break the downtime between action. These characters want nothing to do with each other but it’s not a feeling that is always as present as the script wants to suggest. Burke is a Hollywood North indie icon and Paradine pulls off helpless but untrustworthy while tied to a chair for a majority of the film, but the group’s infighting loses steam before the bad guys really show up and the film shifts gears into survival mode.

 

“Indie horror will always have my heart but if indie action means I finally have another subgenre to fill my annual gore quota then sign me up.”

 

There is a repetition to the attacks in For The Sake of Vicious that worn me down a little bit but the movie really makes up for it with some standout practical effects. Unlike the wild west gunfight approach of Assault on Precinct 13, likely this film’s most common comparison, the fight sequences are in up close and brutal. Wave after wave of gang members burst through the front door (so nice of them to take turns) but they all go down kicking and screaming and clutching their gapping, bloody throats. The gang, some in masks, some wearing just biker helmets descend on the house like trick-r-treaters from hell. For The Sake of Vicious is one of the more ambitious indie movies I’ve seen this year but its structured separation between action and exposition was a little too clean for me to really fall in love with it. Indie horror will always have my heart but if indie action means I finally have another subgenre to fill my annual gore quota then sign me up.

Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s For The Sake of Vicious celebrated its World Premiere at the 2020 Fantasia Film Festival. Click HERE to follow all of our festival coverage, and be sure to let us know what you would do if a gang of trick-or-treaters out for blood came knocking on your door Halloween night over on Twitter, in the official Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!

 

Review: FOR THE SAKE OF VICIOUS (2020)
TLDR
There is a repetition to the attacks in For The Sake of Vicious that worn me down a little bit but the movie really makes up for it with some A+ practical effects. Unlike the wild west gunfight approach of Assault on Precinct 13, likely this film's most common comparison, the fight sequences are in up close and brutal. Wave after wave of gang members burst through the front door (so nice of them to take turns) but they all go down kicking and screaming and clutching their gapping, bloody throats. The gang, some in masks, some wearing just biker helmets descend on the house like trick-r-treaters from hell. For The Sake of Vicious is one of the more ambitious indie movies I've seen this year but its structured separation between action and exposition was a little too clean for me to really fall in love with it. Indie horror will always have my heart but if indie action means I finally have another subgenre to fill my annual gore quota then sign me up. 
Story
50
Effects
70
Action
60
Performances
60
60
nightmare on film street best horror movie podcast background mobile