bound to vengeance

Directed by: Jose Manuel Cravioto

Starring: Tina Ivlev, Richard Tyson, Stephanie Charles, Scott Vance, Dustin Quick, Kristoffer Kjornes

After being held captive and horrifically abused for over six months, a young woman called Eve finally manages to escape from captivity, wounding her erstwhile captor in the process. However, when she realises that there are other women like her, being held against their will, she resolves to rescue them. Taking her wounded tormentor captive, Eve forces him to show her the true underbelly of the sleepy town she lives in - but is she prepared to face the full, shocking truth?

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Ever since watching the film "Wrong Turn", I've had a fascination with the concept of the "Final Girl", specifically what happens to that person once the film ends. Bound to Vengeance is interesting in that it starts where most horror films end - with the "final girl" escaping and besting her tormentors. However, for Eve, her story is only just beginning.

Having managed to escape and injure her jailor, Phil (Tyson), Eve finds out that she's been kept in a remote house. Ransacking the place looking for car keys, she discovers a box of polaroids, pictures of girls just like her. It doesn't take her long to realise the significance of those pictures and resolves herself to trying to find them, even if it means staying with Phil.

Eve proves to be very resourceful, fashioning a lasso so she can control Phil and keep him out of reach. Phil agrees to help in exchange for a promise of medical help and is probably buying time to figure out a way to escape.

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As Phil points out, Eve is naïve about the situation. Some of these girls have been in captivity for so long they can't remember anything else. When Eve tries to help one girl, she reacts as if Eve is trying to abduct her from the only way of life she knows. Others aren't so violently opposed and become active allies.

There is just so much to enjoy here, despite the grim and brutal nature of the plot. It even manages to find some very dark humour along the way. Eve managing to turn the tables and violently take out some of her captors.  The antagonistic dialogue between Eve and Phil, and the horror felt from seeing the size and complexity of the trafficking organization. Best of all though is the revelation as to how they have been luring the girls to their doom over the years, a devastating moment for both the viewer and Eve herself.

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The only place the film wobbles for me is in its final scene, where Eve oversteps an unwritten line and is actually kind of similar to the ending of I Spit on Your Grave (remake). Her course of action doesn't feel earned, to me, and seems out of character.

Tina Ivlev is great as Eve. One of my favourite scenes is when, immediately after escaping her room, she has a shower for the first time in ages, and has to remain on her guard at the same time and the way she does it gives you a great insight into her mind-set.. She's also very resourceful. The way she lasso's Phil even gets his respect.

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Other than the interesting characters, Bound to Vengeance's power comes from the terror you feel when you realise that this isn't about a lone psychopath abducting women, and seeing the scope of the operation and the various people involved. Not only are we hoping for Eve to survive her ordeal but you begin to wonder if something like this could be going on just down the street of your home town....

8 out of 10 - Recommended (MikeOutWest)