Set on Halloween night, the film tells the story of a young nurse (Lora Burke) who returns home after work only to find two men already inside. One of them, who coincidentally happens to be her landlord (Dorian Allen), is crudely tied to a kitchen chair, caked in blood. The other (Nick Smyth) is a psychologically fractured individual who furiously claims that the infirmed hostage is the same man who cruelly raped his young daughter. Things get even more complicated for the trio when a gang of devil-masked bikers take over the action and what ensues is an increasingly violent siege as bullets start to fly, crowbars and knives are carelessly brandished and arterial spray begins to coat the seasonally decorated walls like miniature crimson fountains.
As (I hope) the above synopsis signifies, this is a movie of two very different parts and unfortunately, they don't combine to form one cohesive whole. The first half which centres on the three main characters is the far more interesting of the two, with the father seeking revenge and retribution for the supposed assault of his child proving to be an emotional and harrowing crux that as the parent of two daughters, struck me very deeply indeed. However, the second half which is far more action packed and blood-spattered, while gruesomely entertaining, contrasts sharply with its preceding 45 minutes and all but negates the story and tension which was being so well set up. The ethical tightrope we as an audience are forced to walk is severed and any interest in the characters or their respective dilemmas is all but lost amongst a hurricane of gunfire and outrageously over the top kills – none of which are shot with any flair by the co-directors who seem far more involved in the various methods one could mutilate a human being rather than the battles both internal and external being fought by their characters.
As mentioned at the top of this review, 'For The Sake Of Vicious' doesn't exactly break new ground when it comes to its filmmaking and the same could easily be said for the acting. None of the actors are bad per se and, as the innocent caught in the middle of the murderous mayhem, Lora Burke (who looks uncannily like a young Emily Watson) actually delivers a convincingly panicked performance. However, a distinct absence of development as well as a melodramatic screenplay by co-director Eveneshen prevents us from becoming properly invested in the plight of the characters - ultimately meaning that when the corpses start to build up, there is very little in the way of cathartic relief or a clear sense of poetic justification, two elements which are key to making a lasting horror picture.
That being said, what the movie lacks in technical proficiency, it more than makes for with its no-holds barred gore. With throat-slittings as spectacular as those seen in Tim Burtons' under-appreciated musical/slasher hybrid 'Sweeney Todd : The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street', torture scenes that rival those of 'Hostel' and moments of ocular trauma that would make Lucio Fulci himself wince, the final third of 'For The Sake Of Vicious' boasts some of the nastiest death scenes I've seen in a horror movie in quite some time. There's even a strangling by string lights which is reminiscent of one of the more unique deaths seen in Charles E. Sellier's yuletide slasher classic 'Silent Night, Deadly Night'.
Of course, gorehounds will lap up this chaotic carnage with gleeful relish and some (like myself) may even find themselves uttering a few gasps of shock during it's more unexpectedly savage moments. However, less-hardened viewers more attuned to the standard franchise fare that epitomises the populist horror experience are bound to be repulsed and even possibly sickened by the absolute relentlessness of the savage cruelty shown so bluntly on screen. For me personally, 'For The Sake Of Vicious' is undoubtedly a gruelling watch with plenty of horrifying imagery but one that fatally lacks the most basic narrative devices or a clearly defined directorial style to leave any lasting impression.