In a Violent Nature (2024)
May 30, 2024 8:21 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] An ambient horror slasher that methodically depicts the enigmatic resurrection, rampage, and retribution of an undead monster in a remote wilderness, nearly entirely from his point of view.

Starring Ry Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Cameron Love, Reece Presley, Liam Leone, Charlotte Creaghan, Lea Rose Sebastianis, Sam Roulston, Alexander Oliver, Timothy Paul McCarthy, Tom Jacobs, Casey MacDonald, Lauren-Marie Taylor.

Written and directed by Chris Nash. Produced by Shannon Hanmer, Peter Kuplowsky for Shudder Films/Zygote Pictures/Low Sky Productions. Cinematography by Pierce Derks. Edited by Alex Jacobs. Distributed by IFC Films/Shudder.

90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now playing in theaters. To be released on Shudder later this year. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Béla Tarr's "Friday the 13th."

Okay, first, the gore: there are six kill scenes (I think), only four of which are really shown. None of them are mild, two of them are particularly gnarly, and one of them is pitched at a Terrifier-level of over-the-top disgusting. On the whole, though, this film does not approach or attempt to approach that film's grand guignol levels of constant gore. Mostly, Johnny plods. Mostly, you get a slasher from the bad guy's side.

I mean, that one kill is bonkers. But if you're a horror fan calibrating, pay more attention to the talk of this being minimalist & ambient.

This is, for the most part, a no-music, no-jokes POV thing following Johnny the killer. I do not mean "POV" in the sense of this being literally a first person POV shot. I mean it in the sense of staying with Johnny, right behind him usually, nearly the entire time. It's quiet, ambient, and plodding as often as it is intense, and if you're in this for a rip-roaring time, you are going to hate it.

I thought it was kind of great. I'm only half-kidding by bringing up Béla Tarr. Although this is in color, without music, and with a much grubbier, less operatic intent, there is clear antecedent in the way this just sort of follows Johnny, sometimes in very long shots. We sort of follow along, entirely in his world, at least until the end.

The underlying story structure is a slasher: group of friends in the woods, undead killer who was done wrong, returning to kill the unsuspecting. There are a few wrinkles that make it not entirely rote, but not many. And this is by design.

Does this give the film some kindf of interesting new thematic heft? No, I do not believe it does. Is it a riveting stylistic exercise that will delight dyed-in-the-wool horror fans who also have the chops to ride along with its ambient/minimalist style? Yes, I believe it is.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:34 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]

And now I'm past my courtesy comment at the top without spoilers and will discuss the end.

The ending is a sort of extended shaggy dog gag. The perspective changes to the final girl, who leaves Johnny's mom's necklace (the thing he's been chasing) behind, abandons her attempt to trap him and just high tails it. She runs. And runs. And runs. And trips and hurts herself, then becoming slower. Will he catch her? She is able to reach a road and flag down a car. The woman tells a long, long story about a killer bear. "Animals don't bother much with reason when it comes to killing." Then she notices our heroine is bleeding badly. She stops the car to address the wound. NO! We have to get out of here, our final girl says in a panic. Will Johnny barrel through the woods, miraculously miles away to kill her?

And the answer is: nah. We get a shot that goes back to where she left the necklace and it's gone. Johnny took it and went on his way. He was never killing like an animal. He was never past reason. He just wanted that necklace back and he only killed the people he figured had it, or who tried to stop him.

What does it mean? Not a lot, I'd say. It means Chris Nash finished with even more minimalism and a joke.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:44 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]

Béla Tarr is the right touchpoint; Chris Nash has explicitly mentioned Gus Van Zant's slow cinema work as an inspiration, and Van Sant was influenced by Tarr.

Stylistically it's interesting and I enjoyed it on that level, but I didn't think the experiment shed any real light on the underlying genre. It's a little like when a very good ska band covers a rock classic -- fun, not illuminating.
posted by Bryant at 10:30 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]

I agree that it was purely a stylistic flex, but as flexes go, "Wanna see me remake Friday the 13th, Part II like it's an Eastern European minimalist film?" is pretty baller.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:36 AM on May 30 [5 favorites]

I'm excited to watch this when it gets to AMC+/Shudder, but it does sound a little odd as described, lol. It's like, "I've studied the music of Nick Cave, and I've studied the music of Ratt, and now I can record a cover of 'Round and Round' that sounds like a Nick Cave song," which -- I mean -- I would enjoy that, but there's more to Nick Cave than just the style, right? I'm holding out hope that this film has something to say, even if it isn't that deep. Can't wait!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:11 AM on June 6

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