OK, let's talk about escalation. You know that escalating fear you get when you think something is going to happen? It's a feeling in the gut and a tension in the shoulders that tells you something bad is coming up? The tension builds and builds until you can practically no longer stand it. This is exactly the feeling one gets when watching Bart Mastronardi's directorial debut, Vindication.
I'm telling you, I have never felt a movie escalate quite like this one. It is INTENSE! And when it finally comes time for the cork to pop, boy does it!
Vindication is a brilliant portrayal of the darkness and guilt that resides in each one of us and how if damaged enough from the rigors of a terrible life, someone could be susceptible to horrifying actions.
After young Nicolas Bertram attempts suicide, he starts to experience severe guilt, hallucinations and nightmares. He's constantly being prodded by an eyeless, white-faced demon for him to act upon his guilt. Throughout the film, we see the constant struggle Nicolas endures until it gets to the point that he can no longer stand it.
Mastronardi paces the film marvelously, each scene building tension upon the one previous. The film starts with barely any music, and it too escalates as it progresses. I don't know if this was done intentionally or not, but man, it has an incredible impact when you're watching it. And speaking of the music, the score is absolutely fantastic. It completes and accentuates the film perfectly.
Now let's talk acting. Jerry Murdock, Alan Rowe Kelly, Zoe Daelman Chlanda are all excellent in their supporting roles, as are the rest of the cast. But, Keith Fraser's portrayal of Nicolas Bertram was something to see. His expressions and mannerisms screamed torture and his suicide attempt scene in the bathtub was unbelievably intense. It was an unbelievable performance to say the least.
As writer, director and producer of Vindication, Bart Mastronardi has proved himself an incredible talent. He's created a truly unique horror story that doesn't compromise intelligence for gore, although it does have plenty of the red stuff! An incredible debut, I highly recommend Vindication and can't wait to see what's next. Vindication stabs ****1/2 out of *****.
Check out the trailer for Vindication here!