The 2006 indie film Vindication begins as a disturbing psychological horror drama before getting to the slasher elements. It follows a (really cute) young man with deep emotional problems. He begins with a cutting habit—which means his hot naked body is covered in slices—but that turns into an all-out suicide attempt. This causes the young man’s guilt to manifest itself as a grisly looking killer.
We get glimpses into the young man’s relationship with his father (played by the gorgeous Jerry Murdock), his mother (played by scream queen Raine Brown), a psychiatrist, and even a fortune teller/psychic played by Alan Rowe Kelly made up in creepy trash drag. This slow descent into his madness definitely offers something for horror hounds.
There are several scenes of disturbing imagery, including a standout moment with a hot male model at a photo shoot. And when our leading man walks in on his cute gay roommate with another man, instead of seeing the beauty of gay sex, he envisions something as demonically evil as what Bible thumpers picture when they’re thinking nonstop about gay sex.
In terms of slasher cred, the highlight of the movie hits at a rave. After a gruesome encounter with an arguing couple (the guy is so damn sexy), the killer brings the bloodshed to the dance floor. Blade has nothing on this amazing scene. We are treated to an awesomely gory slaughter set to techno music and a strobe light. After that, the movie brings us back to its serious tone about the fate of our young protagonist.
Vindication is not a cheap thrills film. It delivers the horror moments and gore, but it’s also loaded with artistry and atmosphere, demonstrating a more sophisticated approach to independent horror storytelling.