A man getting beaten about the head opens For the Sake Of Vicious setting the tone of the film, sort of.

Nurse Romina (Lora Burke) ends a tiring shift on Halloween, with a quick message to her son, she makes her way home. Where she finds the beaten man unconscious on her kitchen floor and is attacked by another, Chris (Nick Smyth). He’s there as Romina has tangential link to him from an earlier incident and wants her to keep the man alive. Totally bemused she does while the man Alan (Colin Paradine) is tied to a chair.

Chris wants him alive though he inflicts further violence on Alan. A short flashback gives a little more background about Alan, what he does and who he associates with. The associates, after a call, break into the house prepared to kill everyone only for them to get far more resistance than they bargained for.

Co-directed and written by Gabriel Carrer and Reese Evenshen this is sinewy efficient filmmaking wasting none of its 80 minutes running time. The low budget confines the action to Romina’s house for the most part generating a claustrophobia that increases the intensity of the violence.

For the Sake Of Vicious is a tight shocker that has far more tension than anyone could expect after the first half-hour or so. With the plot unfolding very carefully albeit in a blood-spattered manner, with two or three threads fluttering for the viewer to grab on to.

At the centre is Romina who while generally has a confused and peripheral interest is dragged into vortex of violence that eventually has no option but to get involved in for her self-defence and for other reasons as things come to light.

The acting is very good with the plaudits to Burke who maintains an air of perplexity within the maelstrom around her.
The more surprising thing that only really came to the fore after a second viewing is the very dark humour that runs through it, that maybe gets overwhelmed by the graphic violence.

For The Sake of Vicious is available on Shudder now.