★★★★☆ Written by first-time screenwriters Darren and Jeff Allen Geare, The Retaliators is a rock ‘n’ roll ride into the freaky side of vengeance. Bridget Smith and Samuel Gonzalez Jr’s bloody thriller transgressively argues for violence as a rejuvenating force, a great problem-solver, and eye-for-an-eye revenge being a righteous act.

★★★★☆

Written by first-time screenwriters Darren and Jeff Allen Geare, The Retaliators is a rock ‘n’ roll ride into the freaky side of vengeance. Bridget Smith and Samuel Gonzalez Jr’s bloody thriller transgressively argues for violence as a rejuvenating force, a great problem-solver, and eye-for-an-eye revenge being a righteous act.

Bishop (Michael Lombardi) is a local pastor preaching the Lord to his flock, and a single dad raising two girls. When he allows his teen daughter Sarah (Katie Kelly) to attend a Christmas Eve party, tragedy strikes. Sarah, while filling up the tank of her car at a local petrol station, sees something she shouldn’t. Murdered by a psycho, the padre’s inner Old Testament wrath is unleashed, and he sets off on what you’d call a roaring rampage.

The Retaliators’ might well alarm some with its unusual stance on the subject matter, but there’s a lot here that’s served tongue-in-cheek, a lampooning of machismo and American bloodthirsty fantasy. Hats off too, for a brilliantly done homage to the montage sequences in Rocky IV (1985), furthering the point this is all intended as a horror comedy, an amusing take on American masculinity in crisis and the country’s deeply embedded lone hero mythology.

Martyn Conterio | @martynconterio