Content warning: this film includes themes of rape and sexual assault.

The rape-revenge genre has of late been befittingly seized by the narrative of the survivor seeking vengeance themselves. There have been numerous recent examples which turn the victim scenario on its head, involving less of the emotionally-charged patriarchal takeover (think Liam Neeson in Taken). In Violation, Miriam’s (Madeleine Sims-Fewer) act of retribution against her expectedly unassuming, self-absorbed perpetrator takes on epic proportions which pushes the boundaries of horror.

Written and directed by Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli, it all begins with a familiar set-up: two sisters and their respective partners, on a weekend break in a cabin in the woods. Yet in this instance, the malevolence comes from within the group rather some external force, specifically the actions of brother-in-law Dylan (Jesse LaVercombe).

With the passing of time, Miriam’s anger manifests itself into a meticulously organised plan of brutal revenge. An eye-for-an-eye plot recalling female fronted revenge horrors, such as I Spit on Your Grave or Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge. In comparison, Miriam’s intentions are less instinctual and more precise.

Occasionally the set-up and dialogue prove troublesome, mostly in the initial scenes. The irritating high-pitched, middle class banter between the two siblings as they reminisce about silly childhood memories, or the full disclosure of the couple dynamics, is just too much exposition. As well as the non-linear fashion in which events are told has the side effect of muting the eerie sensation that it painstakingly builds up.

Nevertheless, Sims-Fewer is utterly captivating, injecting an intensity and feverish primeval rage. Once the spine-chillingly graphic scenes enter the fray, irritation gives way to shock as these moments are prolonged, proving as equally excruciating as they are compelling. One thing is for sure, Violation is not for the fainthearted.



CAST: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Jesse LaVercombe, Anna Maguire, Obi Abili

DIRECTORS: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli

WRITERS: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli

SYNOPSIS: A troubled woman on the edge of divorce returns home to her younger sister after years apart. But when her sister and brother-in-law betray her trust, she embarks on a vicious crusade of revenge.