In a Violent Nature Review

Lately, there has been a fresh batch of horror movies that are filling me with a lot of joy. From Late Night with the Devil, Sting, The Coffee Table, Oddity, and Brooklyn 45, horror fans are “eating” as the young kids say! During the Chicago Critics Film Festival, I was able to see In A Violent Nature and the originality of it stayed with me all night. The fact that this horror movie was from the point of view of the killer felt so fresh and different that I was captivated by it. Here are my initial thoughts after seeing it:

“In a Violent Nature touts itself as a horror movie from the killer’s point of view. This is correct in one aspect as we do follow the killer around as he walks from one location to the next. While the 2 -3 minutes of walking from a third-person perspective might lose its charm for some viewers, those who stay for the destination will be in for a treat. The creativeness in the kills in this movie is just off the rails. You have never seen kills this gruesome on screen before. In a Violent Nature has broken through the door of what horror films can be and we can’t wait to see where this goes.”

Ry Barrett as “Johnny” in Chris Nash’s IN A VIOLENT NATURE. Courtesy of Pierce Derks.
An IFC Films & Shudder Release.

In most horror movies, we follow around the campers, a group of kids, or families that are being tormented by the killer. Since we are in the shoes of the killer, Johny, we find out his story by listening to campers around a firepit. The tension built during this scene is something that is missing in the movie. By following the killer around we lose the sense of suspense and surprise. We know where he is going and who he is going to attack but that lack of surprise does not take away from the kills.

Here is where the beauty of the movie comes in with the kills. Altogether there are about 8 kills and each one varies in the amount of gore we see. Some of the kills are off-screen so our imagination gets the best of us and some of them are right up in our faces. There is one that involves yoga that everyone has been talking about because it is so brutal. This is the one that will make people either leave the theater or squirm in their seats as it happens. While this kill was intense, there was another one that had me on the edge of my seat and it was due to the anticipation of what was happening.

Ry Barrett as “Johnny” in Chris Nash’s IN A VIOLENT NATURE. Courtesy of Pierce Derks.
An IFC Films & Shudder Release.

Johnny is an interesting addition to the realm of movie monsters. He is a cross between Jason and Leatherface in his stature with a hint of Michael Myers in his strut. When shown up close his hands look bigger than a normal person’s. Johnny has been through a lot, and we can see that by the cuts and holes in his body and clothing. It would be interesting to see other stories with Johnny or his origin story but in this chapter of his life, Johnny has shown us what horror movies can be and where they can go.

As I mentioned before the suspense of knowing where Johnny is going to show up next is hurt by following him around. The missing suspense is felt during a moment with Kris, played by Andrea Pavlovic, when she is sitting in a pickup truck. Throughout this scene, we do not know where Johnny is. Our eyes keep searching around the scenery waiting for him to jump out. Would the movie be better if Johnny was only shown here and there? Who knows, but it is great that we got to see this version of him for now.

Final Thoughts: In a Violent Nature is a breath of fresh air in the world of horror cinema. By following Johnny, the killer, around you get put into the point of view of the maniac killer. While there are slow moments of him just walking from one location to another it helps build the ambiance of the film. The film does fall a little short in building the tension of wondering where he will pop out and kill the campers. In a Violent Nature will have you seeing horror movies in a new way and looking over your shoulder when you go home at night.

Kid-Friendly: This movie is not geared toward younger kids. I would recommend this for kids 16 and up who have seen other horror movies before. There are not many curse words in the movie but the severity of the kills might test some of your kid’s threshold for horror.

Violence: Yes there is a lot of violence in this movie and some pretty inventive kills. This is not for the weak of the heart.

When a locket is removed from a collapsed fire tower in the woods that entombs the rotting corpse of Johnny, a vengeful spirit spurred on by a horrific 60-year old crime, his body is resurrected and becomes hellbent on retrieving it. The undead golem hones in on the group of vacationing teens responsible for the theft and proceeds to methodically slaughter them one by one in his mission to get it back – along with anyone in his way.

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