Wednesday, November 4, 2015

BOUND TO VENGEANCE (2015)

Label: Scream Factory I IFC Midnight
Release Date: November 11th 2015
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 79 Minutes
Audio: English DTS- HD MA 5.1, DTS-HD MA 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Vodeo: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1)
Director: J.M. Cravioto
Cast: Bianca Malinowski, Richard Tyson, Tina Ivlev, Kris Kjornes

I threw this one on without any expectations, which is usually a good thing, and boy does it get right to it from the beginning, which I appreciated. A young woman named Eve (Tina Ivlev) wakes up chained to the floor of a dingy basement, having been held captive for some time by a man named Phil, apparently forced into some awful, underground sex-trade. She turns the tables on her captor with a brick to the head, and now the captor has become the captive. Eve searches the home and finds Polaroids of other young girls who are being kept in other houses and forced to endure the same tortures, the angered Eve forces her now injured captor to drive her around town in his creep van, hoping to free the other girls who have been abducted. The creep agrees that he will take her to them in exchange for his own life, which she agrees to, and the pair head off into the night. 

The abductors name is Phil, played by Richard Tyson, whom I will always remember as the bully from the 80's highschool classic Three O'Clock High (1987). he gives a very gritty and unlikable performance. I have to admit that at first I couldn't quite place his face, because for most of the movie he has been beaten badly, covered in blood. He's scumbag and one that's easy to hate, taking a lot of punishment from Eve, and all of it deserved. I didn't recognize actress Tina Ivlev from anything but she does a great job here as the victim turned bad ass revenger, she's a small woman but has a lot of spirit, and doesn't make too many mistakes, handling herself like a true bad ass, though a few of the rescues don't quite go as planned. In the aftermath some of the young women die, and their deaths way heavy on Eve. Her character has some real spunk, driven to vengeance against the men who have held her captive, somehow able to find the strength and clarity after months of captivity and sexual abuse to see beyond her own abduction and go after the other girls and to save them.
You might question if someone of her slight build could take on a creep like Phil, but with a gun and a homemade animal control style noose stick she not only manages to keep Phil at bay, but takes on several other nasty guys in the sex-trade underworld. The subject matter is dark and the revenge is sweet, so this sounds about right for a rape-revenger. I didn't love everything about it though, while I loved the way that Eve gets er revenge on the predatory scum the storytelling leaves a bit to be desired, there's a plot device using home video footage that brought to mind the flashbacks of Rob and Beth from Cloverfield. In it we have Eve before the abduction at a seaside amusement park with her boyfriend Ronnie (Kris Kjornes). As the movie plays out we learn more about their relationship and what happened to Ronnie, which leads to a "shocker" reveal that was pretty well broadcast so far in advance of the actual reveal that it took away this piss out of it. I don't think the movie needed that whole home-video thread, and it might have been better without it, it just feels like a movie padding device to get this action-revenger to feature length. 

The disc from Scream Factory and IFC Midnight looks very nice, shot on hi-end digital with an array of blue/green colored gels which gives the movie that particular SAW-type aesthetic, which perfectly fits the grim nature of the movie, each successive house where the women are imprisoned are filthy and look appropriately awful. The 2.40:1 framed image is crisp and well lit for the most part, shot almost entirely at night I was pleased with the amount of detail and crispness we get. We have the option of either DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo or 5.1 Surround, with Optional English subtitles. It has an effective score with an subtle but intense mix of guitar and electronics. Unfortunately the only extra on the disc is a trailer for, there are no commentaries or making-of doc, an unusually bare bones disc coming from Scream Factory.

Bound To Vengeance is a solid action-revenger with the gruesome revenge and satisfying redemption, sort of along the lines of Blue Ruin, but a few notches below that. It had some storytelling shortcomings but its a stylish and fast paced entry, definitely worth a watch just for the fine performances from stars Bianca Malinowski and Richard Tyson. 3/5

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