"Escape is just the beginning"
I thought "Reversal" was rather disappointing. This has absolutely nothing to do with horror as a film genre. That it represents the horror of networks where mainly young girls are being abducted and afterwards being abused in an inhuman way, is perfectly clear. The thought that this also occurs in reality, is a repulsive fact which I experience as being horror. "Reversal" (alternative title "Bound to Vengeance") distinguishes itself from other rape / revenge films by omitting the rape part completely. The insinuations are present, but are not explicitly shown. At the beginning you are immediately in the middle of a kind of revenge movie mixed with a heroic rescue mission. But otherwise it's just a soulless story solely made to shock. Showing the atrocities inflicted by individuals to others, merely serves as a way to test our tolerance.
The moment a brick hits the face of the sadistic serial rapist Phil (Richard Tyson also known as the drug dealer Cullen Crisp from "Kindergarten Cop"), it means the redemptive end of months (or years) of imprisonment for Eve (Tina Ivlev). An average person would quickly flee and call 911. Except Eve. After finding some Polaroid's (Guess it's the 80's) of other victims, she makes an agreement with the psychopath. He'll show Eve the other locations where the other girls are located. In exchange Eve will drop him off at a hospital, to take care of his battered, bloody face.
Tina Ivlev made an impression on me. An acting performance that goes beyond sheer fear and revenge. In a convincing, realistic way she shows how she must choose between self-preservation and self-sacrifice. The transition from victim to executioner occurs without realizing it, and the roles are reversed within the shortest time. Phil is (briefly) reduced to a helpless, pleading heap of misery. Even Richard Tyson delivers a brilliant performance as the maniac doing his weekly round along dilapidated, filthy barely livable shacks where several victims are locked up in chains. But his resilience is superhuman. The manipulative Phil, however, isn't easily beaten up to a jelly and tries to confuse Eve over and over again and tries to trick her into feelings of guilt. He's in any case a creepy guy and you're all the time wondering whether he's the person in charge of the whole operation or as he claimed at the beginning just a messenger boy.
I'm not really a fan of exploitation films and I don't necessarily need to see movies as "I spit on your grave". "Reversal" remains a terrible movie to watch, full of disturbing and disgusting images. Despite everything isn't brought explicitly into the picture, one can imagine the miserable conditions and the cruel treatment the victims endured. Unfortunately, this film offers no more than a vague idea about yet another immense organization larger than Eve can apprehend and again the assertion follows that she isn't aware of what she's getting into. Furthermore, it's the umpteenth film with a teenage girl soaked in blood and running around in her underwear.
The entire film is a succession of perverse disclosures located at different addresses. It looks like a kind of tourist tour with human madness as a central theme, which ultimately leads to the (really predictable) denouement. Although the story isn't much of a deal and unbelievable at times, somehow it's ominous enough to hold your attention. Unfortunately, the flashbacks about better times and the neon-colored images are tiring after a while, and you long for the showdown to see how it actually runs off for Eve. A film that is recommended only for the real fans of this sub-genre.
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