"Bound to Vengeance" Review

“Bound to Vengeance” is the definition of an indie thriller. In all honesty the movie asks for you to suspend your disbelief from the beginning to the end and there are a few predictable plot points. However, the style, minor twists, and willingness to play with the medium makes it bearable to watch as an average viewer and inspiring for any up and coming indie filmmaker. 

Eve (Tina Ivlev) has been held captive in the highly secured basement of a sexual predator named Phil (Richard Tyson). We don’t know how long she’s been there, but the film picks up moments before her escape. Eve is smart, and it seems she’s thought through how to subdue her captor but it’s apparent that she doesn’t know where she is as she exits the house at dusk. With the keys to the only vehicle outside missing, she reenters the place that she knows.

As she rummages through the house, she comes across polaroids of other young girls with numbers by them- including her own. Eve creates a makeshift dog pole catcher with a shower rod and telephone line and uses it to keep Phil at bay as they begin an overnight journey to free the rest of the girls from the polaroids. Of course, this is where the movie derails logically. Why doesn’t she just drive off and call the police? What if Phil has a trap ready for her at another house? If you can swerve around those major plot holes, and accept the movie for what it is, you will be drawn in to Eve’s journey.

With each house she visits and girl she interacts with, Eve learns something different. There’s no doubt that there’s something about Eve that makes her an awesome heroine. With each stop she puts together the pieces of the puzzle of her kidnapping and so many other girls, while getting some revenge along the way. 

Ivlev takes the weight of the movie and carries it in a worthy manner as the lead. She plays Eve with enough gravity to be feared and nuance to be believable. Based on his work in this film, I’m curious to see director Jose Manuel Craviato’s native language films. Craviato plays with the medium in a way that big budget movies rarely do. In one scene, Eve searches for the end of a land line phone, tugging on the chord. With each tug, the camera moves, until it falls to the floor as Eve rushes over to it. This small moment in the film is one of many that shows Craviato’s skill regardless of the script. The cinematography by Byron Werner is also worth a mention as he paints with reds and greens throughout the film, helping to support the repulsive nature of sex trafficking.

While it showed potential for being a revenge thriller with a great female lead, it falls short of the mark. “Bound to Vengeance” is a good choice for Netflix or Redbox.  

Rating: C-


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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.