The Horror Honeys: Escape is Just the Beginning...

Escape is Just the Beginning...

A Revenge Honey New Release Review by Linnie

Bound to Vengeance (2015)

According to the Polaris Project, an organization that aims to aid victims of/stop human trafficking, there were over 3,500 reported cases of sex trafficking in the United States in 2014. Think about that. In the US alone, over three thousand boys, girls, and transgender youth were transported across state lines with the purpose of selling them for sex. If you expand the statistics internationally, the number skyrockets to 2.9 million men, women, and children trafficked for sex or forced labor. In 2014.

Further proof that nothing put to film in a horror movie can compete with the real life terrors people deal with in this world every day.

Which is why for its faults, I think José Manuel Cravioto's Bound to Vengeance is a truly important movie, and one I haven't been able to get out of my head since I finished it.

The Plot: Our film jumps right in to the story, and we meet Eve (Tina Ivlev) as she is breaking free from her captor, possible pedophile/definite sex trafficker Phil (Richard Tyson). We are graciously spared the early days of Eve's imprisonment, and know only that her time under Phil's watch has been brutal. Before she runs, Phil gives Eve a choice: kill him and escape, or keep him alive and save the other girls he has hidden all over the city. What follows is a gut-wrenching fall through the rabbit hole of sexual abuse, human trafficking, and the damage caused to a person's soul when they are treated as a commodity.

Gah. People are the worst. Just... the worst.
In the case of Bound to Vengeance, I broke my standard rule and read a few reviews before I watched it, and I have to say... I don't think many critics are taking the time to understand it. Eve's first few stops on her journey to save the other girls are a disaster: one dies as she tries to escape, and another Eve is forced to kill when she is attacked by her. The reality of sexual abuse and trafficking is the resulting extreme psychological damage, and sometimes that damage is totally irreparable. Some critics have claimed these early scenes are darkly comic, or tone deaf, or in some cases, anti-feminist. While I think there were better way to go about portraying the scenes, both prove that not every victim of sexual abuse can be saved. It's a devastating message, but one that is closer to reality than most films are willing to adhere. 

If it isn't clear by now, Bound to Vengeance isn't an easy film to watch, but it is one that is grounded in really solid lead performances from Ivlev and Tyson, who mostly carry the film. My sole knowledge of Richard Tyson is via Kindergarten Cop, and I can say with all sincerity, he didn't scare me any less in this film than he did in that one. As a villain, and a predatory one at that, you clearly don't trust him, but that trust wavers with personal stories that may or may not contain a grain of truth, hurtling toward a deeply sobering but inevitable conclusion. You will, and rightly should, hate Phil. But you will never feel less than conflicted about the final scenes of Bound to Vengeance.

However, for me, the real revelation here was Ivlev, who despite a varied television resumé, I don't believe I've ever seen before. Her voice is measured and reminded me of a young Jodie Foster, which made the juxtaposition between her anger and her calm that much more effective. As a heroine, Eve is absolutely as flawed and broken as she should be, given the circumstances. She doesn't always make the right decisions, and occasionally, her choices are downright illogical. But if you'd just escaped the clutches of a vicious predator, and were trying to the save the lives of others in the same situation, would you be on your A-game?

When it comes to visuals, Bound to Vengeance is beautiful, and deeply upsetting. Cravioto's use of color and light is exceptional, and draws to mind Nicolas Winding Refn. Sometimes the story is a little too convenient, and while the twist as to how Eve ended up in Phil's hands is heart-breaking, it's not entirely believable. However, what is believable is the story behind Bound to Vengeance, the tragic circumstances that create real-life Eve's every day, and the final knife-in-the-heart moment where you discover the true motivation for Eve's revenge.

Bound to Vengeance isn't a movie for everyone, but it's one of the first revenge films I've seen in a long time that is actually trying to say something. For that reason alone, it deserves praise.

Revenge Honey Rating: 3 1/2 lumps in my throat out of 5

Bound to Vengeance is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube VOD, Google Play, Cable VOD, & a limited theater release

What was the last horror films to give you the feels?
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Find out how you can help the Polaris Project in their efforts to stop human trafficking by visiting their website here...