A young girl, chained in the basement of a sexual predator, escapes and turns the tables on her captor
A dark and grim tale about kidnapping, human trafficking, rape and vengeance, Bound to Vengeance is a modest attempt at a tale that is essentially a mish-mash of Taken and I Spit on your Grave that never truly excels in either direction.
The film begins with shaky handheld footage (yes, I groaned audibly too when I saw this) of our main character, Eve (played by the very adept, Tina Ivlev) and her boyfriend having a good time at a park somewhere in the US. Thankfully this footage is quickly over (though used sparingly throughout the film later) and we find Eve unexpectedly chained in the basement of Phil, played by film mainstay, Richard Tyson. Determined not to dwell even on this predicament Eve finds herself in, The story moves fast to allow Eve to get the upper hand over Phil, chaining him up and escaping the basement, only to find herself at an isolated home in the middle of noplace, USA.
Now, it is at this point of the film that you have to leave common sense firmly at the door and just go along with the decisions Eve makes from this point forward…
After finding photos of other ladies, all numbered and in various states of captured distress, Eve decides that calling the cops isn’t the best thing to do and instead opts to securing Phil with a long handled dog leash she MacGyver’s up and goes on a ride-along with him to rescue his other captive ladies scattered amongst various shady houses around the area.
To the film’s credit, it throws in some very unhappy and twisted scenarios during these “rescues”, ensuring Eve has a hell of a time trying to save any of these victims. Eve is never truly a damsel in distress, and dishes the punishment to Phil at any chance she can get, which was good to see. The story breezes through the runtime with no slow scenes, though the repeated use of the handheld footage did fill like it was there for padding purposes rather than anything actually plot related.
Cinematography was impressive. Shots were rarely static, and no, they weren’t shaky (except for the handheld bits) or did that stupid zoom in thingy, but they just were never stock standard and still. Each shot would always slowly move to the side, back or in to the character and it was impressive to watch and gave scenes an extra dynamic and urgency.
Acting was professional on all fronts. Tina was excellent in her role as Eve and believable. Richard was, as expected, great also, though he didn’t have to do too much here.
Now for the not so good…
The writers bit off more than they could chew here. They tried, oh, Shiva did they try, to hint at a greater scheme of human trafficking, but it was glossed over and actually worked against them, highlighting the script’s simplistic nature more than what its intended purpose was, er.. intended… Couple this with two weak, telegraphed twists; the film struggles to hold up against scrutiny.
The twist at the end was nonsensical in the sense that Eve was fully aware of it the whole time, though when she re-lived the moments, for our benefit, she reacted to the “reveal” as if it was an epiphany, changing her last decision prior to this scene. It felt awkward and silly nor did it illicit an “OH MY GOD, NO FRIGGIN’ WAY” reaction in me that the twist tried to do. The other one is so telegraphed that when it occurs you don’t react to it whatsoever.
The story really needed to either embrace its core or should have tried much harder to become the complex story it desperately tried to be.
Would I watch this again? Despite all its flaws, I enjoyed Bound to Vengeance. I wouldn’t watch this again intentionally, but I wouldn’t complain if I had to because some mates wanted to watch it.
Would I recommend this film? You could do a lot worse than watch Bound to Vengeance. No, it isn’t a masterpiece, and yes the story is simplistic and when you boil it down, rather blah, but the cinematography, performances and continually moving scenes provide enough entertainment for those not too fussed about complex narratives, or anything remotely more than a straight plot.
Bound to Vengeance is now available form Shout Factory on bluray