Escape is just the beginning.

Reminiscent of the exploitation films of the 1970’s, Bound to Vengeance is a brutal revenge film that is both gritty and get-wrenching.

A young girl, barely in her 20’s, is chained and held captive in a derelict basement in the middle of nowhere. Making a harrowing escape, she ransacks the home she’s been held prisoner in and discovers that other girls like her are experiencing a similar fate. Bound and determined for justice and retribution, she sets her sights on vindication by forcing her captor to reveal the locations of these women so they too can be saved, at any cost.

Independent horror films are a dime a dozen, or so the expression goes. You can get cheap creature flicks, poorly acted and ridiculous slasher films, and on the rare occasion you can get a brutal and original film that merits your attention.

Bound to Vengeance is an intense film unlike most, it is gruesome and refuses to look away at the horrifying reality of sex trafficking and sexual assault. The director Jose Manuel Cravioto does a commendable job at highlighting the trauma these women have suffered without ever actually showing the action of abuse. Through subtle hints, flash backs, and held close up shots on scenery, he conveys to the audience the startling reality these women have endured for an unspoken but long stretch of time. It is amazing what Cravioto does in creating terror and menace just through a held close-up shot of a closed door.

The dynamic between the two leads, Eve and her captor, Phil, is complex and mystifying. Tina Ivlev shines as the strong and determined woman who is willing to die in order to seek her vengeance. Richard Tyson plays a manipulative scumbag who, though bound, uses his words to try to wriggle out of his predicament. They are believable, primal, and scary. Realistically, they bring to life the actions of a predator and victim within the realms of human behavior. At no point does the film feel far reaching and taking too many liberties, and perhaps that is the scariest part.

There is a component of the film that weakens its effectiveness and presence, and that is the use of the camera footage of Eve with her boyfriend Ronnie. Yes, there is a purpose to it however there surely was an alternative way to convey this vital information without coping out through such a weak introduction. The use of this footage lessens the power and strength of the film overall, and comes across as a cheap answer to a film conundrum, like the exhausted technique of voiceovers.

Being thrown into the survival environment created by Bound to Vengeance as an audience member is heart racing and engaging. The film does not waste your time nor deliver cheap formulaic horror we have become accustomed to. It is not perfect, but it is eye opening, gritty, dark and 100% worth the watch.