The grim, grimy confines of the rape /revenge/vigilante film are generally housed in the 1970’s, that edgy era where censors were more relaxed and hardcore pornography was an almost respectable way to spend a night at the movie theatres.
The spirit of those gritty flicks still live on today, exploiting a simple moralistic — and worryingly voyeuristic — formula to always controversial and often lucrative returns.
Director Andrew Hunt's new low-budget thriller Sweet Karma is yet another example of the genre, but one which boasts an alarmingly good anti-heroine as its lead: Up-and-coming Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard. The tiny, easy on the eyes model stars as a Russian girl who intentionally falls into a Toronto-based human sex trafficking ring to find her missing sister.
“I do all kinds of horrible things to people in this movie,” Bechard said. “But I am the good guy. I’m avenging my sister’s murder and the characters who get theirs, totally deserve it.”
These horrible things include stabbing, strangling, crushing and shooting her tormentors all the while remaining mute. That’s right, Bechard’s actions are done without the aid of speech.
“I know Andrew (Hunt) was a fan of the exploitation film genre,” says Bechard, “and one of the movies I watched was called Thriller: A Cruel Picture, with Christina Lindburgh. She never spoke in that film and yet she’s iconic and a major screen presence.”