Upon learning that her sister is dead, most likely murdered, she seeks revenge against the people responsible, stating “I have nothing more to lose”. Her sister had travelled from their home in Russia to Canada with the promise of work there as a housemaid. This was not the case though and the group of gangsters who arranged her travel actually deal in human trafficking and prostitution. Bringing girls from Russia to Canada with the promise of housemaid jobs they coerce them into working as strippers and prostitutes and get them hooked on drugs.
Infiltrating the group of gangsters Karma begins taking them out one-by-one as she exacts bloody and brutal vengeance.
Shera Bechard in the central role of Karma is fantastic and the model-turned-actress conveys a lot in the role despite being constricted by an inability to speak. She is attractive and confident but also manages to convey a sense of ordinariness and innocence that is crucial to her character being believable and in any way relate-able.
Sweet Karma is in many ways a throwback to a sub genre in cinema, the female revenge film. Key antecedents include Ms. 45 and Thriller: A Cruel Picture, which both featured mute female protagonists who go on a revenging rampage. Contrary to what the box art suggests though this is not a fun, slick stylized, postmodern revenge flick. Sweet Karma is grimy, dark and at times even a little gloomy. There is fun to be had though as Karma dispatches some truly loathsome lowlifes in inventive ways. The subject matter, human trafficking in particular, and the cinematography, low-fi and deliberately dreary, ensure that there is also a sense of dread and seriousness though throughout.
The film constantly treads a thin line between the more serious themes and the more salacious elements but director Andrew Thomas Hunt manages to avoid letting the film be simply a titillating spectacle. A welcome return to the female revenge thriller sub genre, Sweet Karma is one of the better recent examples. Although let down by some hit and miss supporting performances and a very poor fight sequence near the end, Sweet Karma is a solid film and well worth checking out.
Sweet Karma is released on DVD by Anchor Bay today.
Check out the NSFW trailer embedded below.