In a Violent Nature Review

0
669

Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis: 

The independent horror scene has been thriving lately. “In a Violent Nature” gives us a fresh perspective (literally) as we follow a killer around instead of the victims. When this killer’s locket is stolen from his burial ground, it awakens his body beneath the ground. His spirit rises with a vengeance, intent on retrieving the locket and killing anyone who stands in his way. 

Positives: 

Anytime a new horror movie comes out, I’ll usually make an effort to see it. I’ll be especially engaged if it’s a new premise that tries to do something new. “In a Violent Nature” uses some familiar formats to its story but presents it in a radically different way. Most of the movie is shot from the killer’s perspective. “Halloween” was the first film to present aspects of the story from the killer’s POV, where Michael Myers sat and waited in the shadows for the perfect striking moment. But this story spends most of the runtime behind the killer as he walks through the woods, searches for his locket, and murders people in brutal ways. There is also some inspiration from “Friday the 13th” in many ways. Johnny (the killer) has a brooding, large stature just like Jason Voorhees. He also has a deformed face that he covers with a mask. The way both Johnny and Jason go about their kills are very similar too. Heck, they even have similar names! There is plenty of homage to the classic slasher genre here which is fun to see as a fan.

The film is well shot too. A number of scenes feature a scenic backdrop, cool cinematography, and an immersive experience in the woods. There are long tracking shots where Johnny is simply exploring or following a victim. I’ve never quite seen something like this before and appreciate the unique take on a familiar concept. I speak for gorehounds here (so take this with a grain of salt) but the kills were incredibly gnarly. Not only were they creative, but they are likely to make audiences squirm in their seats. Two in particular stood out, ones I won’t forget for a while. Most regular audiences may find them too grotesque but die-hards of the slasher genre will love it. 

Negatives:

There is a lot to appreciate as a horror fan here, but unfortunately I don’t think the story comes together as a complete film. Since most of the movie is perspective based, there isn’t much going on otherwise. A good portion is simply watching Johnny walk around and examine what is going on around him. If they used this tactic in a more specific way then it would have been more effective. An entire story told in this format lacks intrigue, actually making me feel relaxed most of the time. I almost felt like I was going through a stroll in the woods for most of the movie which I’m sure wasn’t the intended feeling. I don’t think general audiences will appreciate this tactic as it is a slog to sit through most of the time. The pacing really struggles because of this choice as well. 

Unfortunately since most of the film follows the killer around, it doesn’t leave much time to establish the other characters. We hardly learn anything about them as they only get screen time to be killed or elaborate on the legend of Johnny. The movie is more focused on crafting grisly kills than creating worthwhile characters. This really becomes a problem when the finale kicks into gear and the main girl is running from him. We don’t know a single thing about her, making their confrontation feel underwhelming. The end also unfolds in a way that didn’t pay off for me. It’s very anticlimactic and goes for a stylish, unexpected direction rather than one that satisfies fans of the genre. There’s no big showdown and no great defeat. 

Conclusion:

“In a Violent Nature” does a lot right on a shoestring budget. The POV of following a killer around is a great idea in theory. But in execution it struggles as a feature length film. This would have been a great short story for the indie horror community. I also feel like there isn’t much new outside of the way everything is shot. There are plenty of familiar beats from other (better) horror franchises that are too similar to ignore. I’ll never discredit new horror movies that swing for the fences though. Good idea, mixed execution.