In a Violent Nature Review: Unorthodox Slasher Takes a Big Swing

Chris Nash’s In a Violent Nature puts a different spin on the slasher movie with interesting, yet inconsistent, results.

The premise is slasher 101. A local legend of a murderous man thought long dead comes screaming into life when someone inadvertently resurrects said murderous man. Then, the murderous, undead man goes on a bloody rampage. His wrath wrought against a typical cast of young, dumb victims (older, similarly stupid people also die).

And yet, that’s not all In a Violent Nature offers. It’s a refreshing film in many ways. It is largely a third-person viewpoint of the killer and his actions, and between its kills, there’s a sedate, almost peaceful quality. Ambiance interrupted by often visceral carnage.

First, to the ambiance. It’s a bold approach, and mainly works in the context of what the film is trying to do. By following the killer, who isn’t all that talkative, having been pretty damn dead for a good while, the relative quiet makes sense. As he traipses through woodland, we’re left to soak up the sights and sounds of the forest. It’s a little jarring at first when things get bloody and violent, but it’s a striking juxtaposition when it works.

In a Violent Nature gets up close and personal

The gimmick of viewing a slasher through the killer’s viewpoint is as old as the sub-genre itself (Peeping Tom quite literally did it). But the way Nash approaches it here is interesting. Often before our undead killer sees his next victims, he’ll hear them talking. And you quickly realize it’s all the delightfully glib chatter of soon-to-be slasher victims. You know, when they’re not yet getting skewered, sliced, stabbed, or tenderized inside a sleeping bag. From the mean-spirited woodsman surly for all the wrong reasons to the ignorant young folk who are just begging to find themselves at a brutal end with their pompous douchebaggery.

Like Peeping Tom, being on this side of the divide is more than a little voyeuristic. As our rotten hulk of a man stands gawping at whatever meat buffet presents itself to him, we feel like the shark POV in Jaws, knowing the beast is about to ruin a few days and nothing will stop that from happening.

And the viewer is taunted by that knowledge. Sometimes, there will be a cutaway before you see anything. It would make sense if the film were skimping on the gore (it does not). But I like to think it’s Nash saying the killer is disinterested in what we see and don’t see. Plenty of slashers have had off-screen kills, usually with a grisly reveal later, but here, it feels a bit more meaningful, if a tad frustrating for gorehounds (me, I’m gorehounds).

A view to a kill

But when Nash and company do show the deadly deed, it’s disgustingly impressive. One kill in particular has such a heady blend of nastiness, brutality, and comical absurdity that the high of it carried on my face for a good while after the fact. Let’s just say it’s a kill in line with its victim’s hobby.

While I greatly respect the overall approach, I can’t say it worked for me as often as it could. I can understand In a Violent Nature being divisive because it’s abrasive is a very unusual way for a slasher. Sure, it has in-your-face gnarly scenes to poke and prod at the viewer. But its dedication to mood and atmosphere is somewhat alien to the sub-genre. The quiet is usually supposed to be the runway to the loud, messy payoff, right?

Not always so here. It’s not for tension, suspense, or scares; it’s to keep the deafening buzz of life being passed by walking death at the forefront. The heavy thunking footfalls of the killer, as he moves through woodland, is our soundtrack for a large portion of the film. In fact, another thing that will be striking/challenging for viewers is the lack of score. The intent is, of course, to highlight the ambient noise, but it’s oddly distracting to note the lack of music. Sure, it’s a bit of a personal gripe, but it’s worth mentioning.

In a Violent Nature is still a largely successful experiment. There’s definitely something in what it’s trying to do; it’s just a touch raw in this particular form.

Score: 7/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 7 equates to ”good”. A successful piece of entertainment that is worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.

In a Violent Nature is exclusively in theaters on May 31, 2024.

Screener provided for review.

The post In a Violent Nature Review: Unorthodox Slasher Takes a Big Swing appeared first on ComingSoon.net – Movie Trailers, TV & Streaming News, and More.

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