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Vindicta – Film Review

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vindicta film review
vindicta film review

I will hold my hands up here: I’ve never found the Statue of David to be particularly threatening. So, when you put your main bad guy in a Statue of David mask, staring at the camera across a crowded room, my instinct is not to hide behind a cushion, it’s to have a wee chuckle. On the League Table of Scariest Statues, which I struggle to imagine existing, I wouldn’t even put him mid-table.

The creators of Vindicta clearly think differently. They’ve concocted one of those crossover horror-thrillers that films like Se7en and Fallen have done so well, and chosen David as their bad guy. So, we get plenty of shots of David in a hoodie, doing that tilty-head thing that horror villains in masks seem obliged to do nowadays. We blame Ghostface in Scream.

There’s some reasoning to go behind the whole David thing, promise. We’re in Seattle in the midst of riots. Whole city blocks are burning and looting is rife. It’s probably not the best moment for Lou (Elena Kampouris, fresh off the truly terrible Children of the Corn) to become a rookie paramedic, and her boss (Sean Astin, “I’m coming, Mr Frodo!”) reluctantly sends her into the fray. 

While she is one of many paramedics dealing with the fallout of the riots, she always seems to come to the crime scenes of David’s murders. One by one, he’s popping the clogs of various public servants in imaginative ways. One victim dangles from telephone lines with an old Roman torture device in her mouth. Another is decapitated, and their head is used as a slinky down a flight of stairs.

Just to make sure that the repeatedly stupid cops realise there’s a connection between the murders, David leaves Latin messages dotted about. Hilariously, the cops treat Latin as some kind of impossible code that can never be solved (this takes place in an alternate universe where the internet doesn’t exist), so the classically trained Lou suddenly becomes helpful. She translates the Latin and becomes an invaluable addition to the crime-solving team. 

Hilariously, David can’t help but hang around at the crime scenes, staring from behind crowds of people. Not once, but twice, Lou and the lead cop, Detective Russo (Travis Nelson) stare directly at him with a vague hint of surprise, but they get distracted by a passing lorry or loud noise and he disappears. Do they run after him? Of course not. They slap their thighs and rue the fact he’s buggered off.

It becomes increasingly clear that the victims are connected, and that there’s some meaning to the use of the David mask and the Latin graffiti. Shock horror, Lou might be a target herself, as well as her father (Jeremy Piven, slumming it), her boss, and pretty much every character we’ve already met. Flashbacks lead us like toddlers to the various plot points, so we can realise the motive before the main characters do. 

Full credit to Vindicta, it knows its way around a grisly death. If a horror movie is measured by the wildly different ways to die, then Vindicta is up there with the best. It’s got a thing for heads, as they are gouged out, exploded, stabbed and cut off in a multitude of ways. The camera doesn’t look away: the creators have got a makeup and VFX budget and are willing to spend it. The result is that Vindicta has a gruesome charm to it, and there’s probably a drinking game in there somewhere. 

We’re becoming fans of Elena Kampouris, too. Hopefully there’s a future where she graduates from horror schlock like this to something with a script, say, but she’s the reasonably magnetic centre while the rest of the cast go about cashing their cheques. But who can blame them when the script is as risible as this. We were in stitches in one scene, where a main character does something so downright evil and immediately gets forgiven by pretty much everyone. Except David, of course. He’s having none of it. And then one character utters the terrible “carpe fucking diem”.

Because, of course, Vindicta is tosh. Don’t be drawn in by Sean Astin and Jeremy Piven on the cover – this is absolute bobbins, brought to you by the director of Cats and Dogs 3: Paws Unite and Aliens Ate My Homework. Outside of the reasonably decent makeup work in the death sequences, this has little to no merit to it whatsoever. 

We’re happy to wheel out more examples. In a move that’s very true to Sean Astin and The Return of the King, Vindicta just refuses to end. When you think the last scene is winding up, David gets up again, and again, and again. Sometimes it makes zero sense – there is no feasible way that he could have escaped his demise. But, presumably with Jason Vorhees and Mike Myers in mind, he rises up to become a threat. We hoped we could put Vindicta down and watch something else, but it kept dragging us back in. 

The tone is way out of whack too. The last battle is some bizarre cod-superhero nonsense, as Lou suddenly gains incredible powers and David loses all of his (before this sequence, David is capable of being in multiple places at once, preempting everything the characters do, and even creating coincidences that he could never have planned for). Lou even does a superhero landing pose, just in case you missed that she was an action heroine now. There’s a sub-DaVinci Code bit too, as the dots are joined up on the Latin stuff, but we’ve given you enough examples now.

Vindicta isn’t unutterably bad. It has the decency to chuck in some gruesome deaths and tongue-in-cheek dialogue. But in the attempt to be a modern day Se7en, Vindicta is a two, at best.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Lots and lots of blood
  • Imaginative deaths all over the shop
  • Elena Kampouris does her best with precious little
Cons:
  • Script is diabolical
  • Bad guy is Jason Vorhees in a different mask
  • Thick as two short planks
Info:
  • Purchased by TXH
  • Running time and release date - 1hr 26mins | 2023
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Lots and lots of blood</li> <li>Imaginative deaths all over the shop</li> <li>Elena Kampouris does her best with precious little</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Script is diabolical</li> <li>Bad guy is Jason Vorhees in a different mask</li> <li>Thick as two short planks</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Purchased by TXH</li> <li>Running time and release date - 1hr 26mins | 2023 </ul>Vindicta - Film Review
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