Movie Review: Rites Of Vengeance

Published on April 21st, 2017 in: Current Faves, Feminism, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Tim Murr

As a far-left liberal I have long since opposed the death penalty. I find it barbaric and rigged by class war. When it comes to child molesters and abusers, though, the only justice I find suitable is to publicly hang them and leave their bodies to be picked over by birds. Fuck you if you think I’m being hypocritical in my views. And fuck you if you disagree with me. These crimes against children are inexcusable, indefensible, and unforgivable. And it keeps happening!

I’m always shocked when people come forward accusing a priest of raping them and that priest isn’t chased through the streets by his congregation. Oftentimes allegations come to light and that priest is simply transferred somewhere else. The abuse continues unabated. It’s an old story that keeps repeating itself. It’s not just a Catholic problem; recently a homophobic preacher that had praised a gay nightclub massacre was busted with child porn.

People can feel very defenseless and helpless when faced with gross abuse of power from people who seem to hold their very salvation over their heads. In the real world, the bad guys get away, justice fails the victim, people suffer post-traumatic stress in silence and solitude. That’s where art steps in to provide a catharsis. To communicate that people are not invisible, we may not be able to help, but we know evil exists, and we’re pissed.

Izzy Lee, director of Innsmouth and For A Good Time, Call…  tackles the subject head on in a beautifully shot and heartbreaking, but satisfying, short film Rites Of Vengeance. The film treats the subject of child abuse at the hands of a priest with restraint and sensitivity on the one hand and brings a grindhouse revenge aesthetic on the other. Aside from the excellent score, the film is silent, letting the action tell the story, leaving nothing to interpretation, but not rubbing the viewers’ faces in shock factor. Lee and crew walk a fine line here and it could have hurt the power of Rites had they strayed a bit one way or another.

All the performances are excellent and the cinematography (by Jarrett Blinkhorm) is gorgeous. Rites Of Vengeance embodies that “walk softly and carry a big stick” feel. It’s a smart and worthy piece of film art and I give my highest recommendation. After watching all of Lee’s films in the last few months, I can say that she just gets stronger as a director and I can’t wait to see what she does when she helms a feature length film.

Rites Of Vengeance just took home Runner-Up for Best New England film at the Boston Underground Film Festival. Next it will be playing at Stoker Con 2017 in the Final Frame competition on April 28. You can see the teaser trailer below.

For more on Izzy Lee’s work check out Nihil Noctem Films.

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