IN A VIOLET NATURE
YEAR: 2023 / COUNTRY: CANADA / LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / RUN TIME: 94 MIN
Starring: Ry Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Cameron Love, Reece Presley, Liam Leone
Director(s): Chris Nash
In his directorial feature debut, Chris Nash skillfully flips the slasher genre on its head by shifting the perspective from the victims to the killer with haunting effect. In A Violent Nature upends a formulaic mainstay featured within horror films for decades, minimizing familiar tropes to inject new life into the genre. Instead of dwelling alongside promiscuous young people in a remote forest cabin before they get what’s coming to them, the film keeps their unsuspecting voices in the distance as we follow a maniacal murderer trudging through the woods to stalk his prey. Infusing inventive kills with generous amounts of gore, Nash is methodical in his approach, setting an ominous and ambient tone that will linger within your psyche for a long time to come.
Written By Darren Zakus
Rating: 3 out of 5
In A Violent Nature has all the gruesomely gory kills that fans of the horror genre will eat up, with dedicated craftsmanship from the creative team to bring to life this slasher from the perspective of the killer, but it’s ultimately held back by its premise from being the great horror film it could have been.
When it comes to horror movies, I’m always looking at the talent involved and the premise of the film to see whether it is worthwhile checking out, and In A Violent Nature has both. Staging a slasher film from the perspective of the killer in a Friday the 13th-esque tale is something any horror fan will go wild for. And with producer Peter Kuplowsky on board, who is the programmer for the Midnight Madness line up at the Toronto International Film Festival and has a massive passion for the horror genre, you know there are going to be lots of great kills and startling moments for horror fans to eat up. There is no question that the film delivers them in spades, giving fans exactly what they want from it, but it is simultaneously held back by its concept and prevents it from being the truly exceptional horror film it had the potential to be.
While watching a slasher film, you want memorable and brutally violent kills, and In A Violent Nature has that beyond your wildest dreams. The kills are some of the goriest and most startling that I have seen in a horror movie in a while, featuring outstanding prosthetics, make up and visual effects work to capture the unrelentless and sadistic violence. Especially the one of the young woman practicing yoga which is truly one of the most brutal and gruesome deaths I have ever seen captured on screen that had my theatre shrieking in terror and giddy with excitement. Framing the film from the perspective of the killer removes any emotion from the movie, giving this cold blooded version of terror that horror fans will appreciate. Visually, there are some great shots that show the kills from different angles, hiding the kills to let the gory corpse reveal being shocking or giving unrestricted viewing of our killer’s actions, both of which are used to astounding effect. The sound design is excellent, capturing every crunch of dirt as the killer walks through the woods and slicing of flesh, helping to create an all encompassing sensory experience. It feels as if you are standing behind the killer watching the events unfold in real time, which is guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine.
The screenplay itself is a mixed bag. It’s clear that this film is heavily influenced by slashers like Friday the 13th, writer director Chris Nash knows what the film’s screenplay needs: incredibly one dimensional characters that act as cannon fodder for our killer, laughable dialogue with questionable delivery that creates a campy experience, and an undead killer that has recently risen from the grave and is unstoppable in every sense of the word. It creates some excellent great comedic moments throughout the film, a hallmark of the slasher genre, before a body unexpectedly hits the ground minutes later. Where it falls apart is being from the perspective of the killer. While watching him walk through the woods for minutes on end does create tension early on in the film as you anticipate his next victim, it does get old quickly and makes the film drag considerably when outside of its kill sequences. And with the film being approximately ninety minutes in length, the pace dragging works heavily against the overall experience at times.
There is no denying that the film craftsmanship on display in In A Violent Nature is outstanding, truly utilizing its small independent roots to create a technically excellent film. It has everything that fans of the horror genre want, and while the film being told from the perspective of the killer and not the victims is something we don’t see enough of in the slasher subgenre and very effective from a storytelling point of view, it is a film that is going to divide viewers. With every kill sequence topping the last in terms of gory, brutality and inventiveness is reason alone to give In A Violent Nature a watch as it has everything fans of the horror genre will want in terms of production expertise and shock value, though the uneven pacing of the screenplay took me too much out of the film to allow this to be a great horror film.