The Vicious Sweet - The Vicious Sweet(DVD) [SRS Cinema - 2019]Originally released back in 1997 The Vicious Sweet stands as one of the more professional, and at times both triply head spinning and emotionally fraught Shot On Video films. On SRS Cinema here we have a region free DVD from last year- featuring a director’s & lead actor’s commentary tracks.
The Vicious Sweet was the fourth film directed & written by low budget US Auteur Ron Bonk- and while the film suffers from your usual SOV issues- bad sound, mixed acting, and pacing issues- as SOV goes this is fairly well-acted from the leads, has a decent/ creative story, as well as moments of real troubled emotional depth- which you don’t expect from normally trashy-though-enjoyable SOV fare.
The film introduces us to rather a bitchy scream queen Christine Irvine (Theresa Constantine) - we meet her in the screening room of her latest staring B- movie role, which is some kind of nuked-out Zombie caper. She clearly doesn’t enjoy working on this type of film any longer, but she turns down a role in an artier larger budget film, as well on the same night rebuffing her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. Next thing we know Christine has been kidnapped- and is chained to a bed in a basement by a masked man who proceeds to ask her questions about her troubled past, how she got into B movies and philosophical questions about her life in general. As the film goes on she starts to seemingly have hallucinations- first running & fighting the creatures from her film work, then later meeting bloody boned figured grim reaper, and more trouble & abusive figures from her past.
As you’d imagine a large part of the films eighty three minute runtime is set in a single room- and this is sadly is where some of the pacing issues coming in, as the clearly tiny budget just doesn’t have to cinematic tools to enhance the setting. What does save it is the fairly impressive ( by B movie standards) acting from Constantine, as the captured low rent starlet- who convincingly goes from arrogant & abusive, through to panicked & disturbed, onto tired & confused. Also, her captor is good enough in his role- and the idea of change the masks he wears is another attempt to break up the rather uninspired one-room setting. When the flights of fancy happen- this nicely sees Bonk pushing his budget- with darting reptile-like monsters, black gown & blood dripping reapers, zombies, creepy sex pest, etc. The real surprising element here is the more emotional fraught & troubling moments when the Starlet recounts her troubled past, family abuse, and trust issues- with Constantine often making these elements most believable.
On this DVD we get two commentary tracks- one featuring both director and lead actress, and one with the director on his own. Of the two the first is the first in the best, as it’s more chatty/ flowing. But both do offer interesting bits & bobs of information about the film's production, settings, and general low budget film making. The only other extra on the disc is a trailer.
I can’t say if you weren’t a fan of SOV horror before then The Vicious Sweet won't change your mind on the genre- as many of the genre problems/ issues are still very much present. But if you are an SOV fan I think you’ll be fairly impressed with what Bonk and his lead actors do here. And it’s certainly one of the more serious and accomplished films to appear out of the whole SOV thing…..so I guess that gives you a good idea if this is for you or not.