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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

Bound to Vengeance  (2015)
2 Stars
Directed by J.M. Cravioto.
Cast: Tina Ivlev, Richard Tyson, Kris Kjornes, Bianca Malinowski, Dustin Quick, Stephanie Charles, Nihan Gr, Vivan Dugré, Scott Vance, Ric Sarabia, Amy Okuda, Dylas Thomas.
2015 – 93 minutes
Not Rated (equivalent of an R for strong bloody violence, sexual content/nudity, and for language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman for, November 17, 2015.
Retitled since its premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival (where it went by the superior, but still forgettable, name "Reversal"), "Bound to Vengeance" aptly twists expectations with its setup before stretching the boundaries of plausibility and sense far past their breaking points. One minute, 21-year-old Eve (Tina Ivlev) is enjoying a day out with her boyfriend, Ronnie (Kris Kjornes), and the next she is chained up in the underground lair of her sick abductor, Phil (Richard Tyson). When she gets the chance to finally escape, she chooses instead to take Phil hostage, embarking on a one-woman crusade to rescue his other captive victims hidden throughout the city. It is a valiant, if nonsensical, prospect easier said than done.

A case where a performance is better than the film it is in, "Bound the Vengeance" has one thing going for it, and that is Tina Ivlev, giving her riveting all as the defiant, understandably pissed-off Eve. Ivlev (who bears a passing resemblance to Britt Robertson) does not play the part as a superhero, but with an emotional, forlorn strength that rings true. What doesn't ring true is the ridiculous premise. Director José Manuel Cravioto keeps the narrative humming along, but he and screenwriter Rock Shaink Jr. play viewers for fools. Eve could very easily go to the authorities and, based on what she already knows, instigate the rescue of all the other endangered women Phil has locked away. As she takes matters into her own hands, the grave series of events which follow play like a comedy of gruesome errors—only everything is treated seriously. "Bound to Vengeance" holds one's attention, but not one's faith, telling a story that simply has too many holes to buy into it.
© 2015 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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