A Vigilante

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A Vigilante
A Vigilante film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySarah Daggar-Nickson
Written bySarah Daggar-Nickson
Produced by
CinematographyAlan McIntyre Smith
Edited by
  • Ben Baudhuin
  • Matthew C. Hart
Music by
  • Danny Bensi
  • Saunder Jurrians
Distributed bySaban Films
Release dates
  • March 10, 2018 (2018-03-10) (SXSW)
  • March 29, 2019 (2019-03-29) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

A Vigilante is a 2018 American drama film written and directed by Sarah Daggar-Nickson. It stars Olivia Wilde, Morgan Spector, Kyle Catlett, C.J. Wilson, Tonye Patano, Chuck Cooper, Betsy Aidem and Judy Marte.

It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2018, and was released on March 29, 2019, by Saban Films.


Sadie is a woman attending a support group for abused women following her abandonment of her husband. She works as a vigilante, helping women and children escape abusive homes and family members. She struggles with money, asking for whatever the people she helps can give and attempting to redeem a life insurance policy on her still-missing husband. She lives out of an undisclosed motel room, the wall of which is posted with a map that has been marked off in a search pattern.

After Sadie works out and disguises herself with latex makeup, contacts and a wig, she is invited to the home of Andrea (Betsy Aidem) and Michael Shaund (C.J. Wilson) claiming that she needs to conduct a health insurance assessment. Sadie overpowers Michael with her martial arts training, forces him to transfer the deed to his home and most of his money to Sadie, and tells him to leave and never go near her or her children ever again. Sadie tells Andrea to pass on her details to anyone she feels needs them.

Sadie then rescues a young boy and his infant brother from their drug-addled mother, who had been keeping the infant locked away. She tells the boy that police and social services will arrive soon. He asks her to take care of them, but she says she cannot as they would not be safe with her; she does leave him her number in case anyone else ever hurts them. Returning to her car she cries, obviously guilty that she could not do more to help them.

In group therapy, Sadie confesses her past: Her husband, a dangerous and sociopathic criminal, tried to force her and their young son, Cody, to move out of their home and live off the grid together with him. When she tried to escape with her son, he chased them both with a knife and killed their son in a fit of rage.

In a flashback we see Sadie return to her old home after the tragedy, finding a book on the Israeli martial art Krav Maga which takes her interest. She finds some of her son's belongings there, including a sketch he drew with his initial the letter "C" prominently displayed. She also spots a poster for Lake Placid that had been left behind. She finally decides to leave a note for her group therapy leader, telling her that she is available to help other women in trouble.

Returning to her room, she notices something odd about her map and sees looks like a bloody fingerprint, before suddenly being struck from behind and knocked unconsciousness.

Sadie wakes up bound, her husband (Morgan Spector) taunting her and welcoming her back home in his rural cabin. He tears up the sketch her son made and leaves her restrained to go hunt for food. She tries to stab him, but he knocks the blade aside and breaks her wrist. She escapes, and after a lengthy chase, the two of them finally confront each other. Sadie tells her husband that he didn't kill their son because she made him do it; he killed their son because he couldn't stand to have someone see him for the monster he really was. Sadie manages to overpower her husband and choke him to death. After dumping his body on a nearby road, Sadie flees the scene.

Sadie visits to her attorney, who tells her that since the police found her husband's body and don't seem willing to look further into the case considering the lack of evidence and his criminal record, the life insurance claim will be processed. Sadie then leaves to find another woman who had contacted her for help.



In November 2016, it was announced Olivia Wilde had been cast in the film, with Sarah Daggar-Nickson directing from a screenplay she wrote. Randall Emmett, George Furla, Andrew D. Corkin, Lars Knudsen and Ambyr Childers served as producers on the film, under their Badlands Entertainment, The Long Run, Uncorkd Productions, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Parts & Labor banners, respectively.[1]


The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2018.[2] Shortly after, Saban Films had acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film.[3] It was released on March 29, 2019.[4]


A Vigilante received positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 90% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 40 reviews, with an average of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Led by Olivia Wilde's fearless performance and elevated by timely themes, A Vigilante is an uncompromising thriller that hits as hard as its protagonist."[5] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 68 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[6]


  1. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 1, 2016). "Olivia Wilde To Star In Emmett/Furla's 'A Vigilante'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  2. ^ "A Vigilante". South by Southwest. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  3. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (September 8, 2018). "Toronto: Saban, DirecTV Nab Olivia Wilde Pic 'A Vigilante' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  4. ^ Crust, Kevin; Cooper, Matthew (January 10, 2019). "Winter movie preview: 'Captain Marvel,' 'Miss Bala,' 'Dumbo' and a complete list". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  5. ^ "A Vigilante". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  6. ^ "A Vigilante Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 5, 2019.

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