“Guilt” is an Australian vengeance fantasy about a former child trauma psychologist turned pedophile-killing vigilante.
In the parlance of the happy natives of Oz, it’s bloody awful.
It’s a violent thriller that suspends suspense in favor of endless scenes of heroine Jessie (Janet Shay) plotting, stalking, trapping and killing just-released convicted child molesters and burying them in the woods.
She’s got a pickup truck (“ute”) for just that purpose. And she’s so obsessed that we see she’s neglecting her personal life and maybe her now-adult-focused practice.
The woman doodles murderous thoughts as this mother of a victim or that one reveals the emotional damage these crimes have wrought. Might have been nice to be listened to and, you know counseled.
The film introduces an intrepid cop who might be on her trail, but she’s forgotten for most of the film. There goes that “ticking clock,” “long-arm-of-the-law closing in” element.
Even the “Death Wish” screenwriters had the good sense to work that in.
And “Guilt” brings up the possibility that maybe not everybody accused or even convicted of the crimes is guilty, with the idea that Jessie starts to experience remorse. Maybe? Hopefully? Fat chance.
This appears to be Shay’s feature film debut, and while she’s good at the savagery, the other emotions one might expect to flash across Jessie’s face don’t.
It’s a one-note performance, and that note is dissonant and dull.
MPAA Rating: unrated, graphic violence
Cast: Janet Shay, Hayley Flowers, Tom Wilson and Michael Matthews
Running time: 1:42