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'In a Violent Nature' Review: A Unique Addition to the Slasher Horror Genre

By Becca Johnson July 2, 2024
In a Violent Nature

The slasher sub-genre is a fan-favourite within horror, and perhaps the one sub-genre that nobody seems to mind regular additions into. That being said, it’s often under the microscope for its dumb and predictable nature, with many of us tuned into these films well enough to predict the killer, the motives and even the method of the kills. From Scream to Friday the 13th, Halloween to A Nightmare on Elm Street, they’ve been a staple of the horror genre for years, with the hype not seeming to die down despite the amount of them we receive per year. Now, enter director and writer Chris Nash, an individual who promises to bring something new and inventive to slasher films. This film has been on horror fans radars for one main reason - it is shot and told entirely from the killers perspective. Whilst not bringing an exciting story to the table, In a Violent Nature is perfectly gruesome with inventive kills, beautiful landscapes and cinematography and most importantly, a unique idea that’s worth checking out.


Synopsis

When a group of teens takes a locket from a collapsed fire tower in the woods, they unwittingly resurrect the rotting corpse of Johnny, a vengeful spirit spurred on by a horrific 60-year old crime. The undead killer soon embarks on a bloody rampage to retrieve the stolen locket, methodically slaughtering anyone who gets in his way.



Review

It’s important to point out that In a Violent Nature won’t be for everyone. The main area of focus is on the style rather than the substance, meaning it doesn’t have much of a plot, dialogue or tangible storyline to follow. A large majority of this feature is following our killer named Johnny as he simply walks around the woods, looking for his next victim. It’s an undeniably slow approach which will ultimately cause divisiveness amongst fans - we can already see many arguing that ‘nothing happens’. However, some audiences will enjoy this film for the approach alone. The film plays out in real time, as Johnny rises from the dead, skulks around the forest, takes down his victim and moves onto the next. There is something exciting and unique about watching Johnny’s day play out, which doesn’t just involve killing but looking for victims, choosing his mask and yielding his weapon of choice. Furthermore, it choosing to put the killer at the forefront and encasing it in a weaker story may just be the point - is that not often the outcome of most slashers?


What helps to soften the blow of the slower pace are the technical aspects, that put filmmaker Chris Nash on the map as one to watch outside of just having a bold idea. The cinematography is absolutely stunning, with the tracking shots behind our killer following him around making for an immersive watch. The film is shot on location in Ontario, Canada, and the team including cinematographer Pierce Derks certainly make this known. It’s picturesque in colour and scope, with the cinematography frequently showcasing the amazing location. Mountains, sunsets and trees create a surprisingly aesthetically beautiful watch, a feature that exceeds expectations. The sound design is also a notable feature, as we can hear every footstep, every tree branch snap, every bone break. The choice to not have an original score or any sort of music is a fine one, as it adds to the immersive approach and general eeriness of the flick. It genuinely feels as though we’re in the forest with our killer - it’s pretty masterful. The only aspect that lets it down in this region is sadly the performances; Ry Barrett is fantastic as killer Johnny, giving a noticeably good physical performance, but those playing his victims are lackluster. This is mostly the fault of the script’s dialogue than the actors themselves - luckily, the dialogue is few and far between.


In a Violent Nature

We all expected the ‘killer’s perspective’ approach to be the best thing about In a Violent Nature, but as it turns out, the strongest asset is the kills. Whilst they’re more spaced out than many would like, when they are occurring, this is entirely forgivable. Gruesome, disgusting and exceptionally unique, there is a lot of blood to be shed, and gore hounds will certainly be impressed with the amount of carnage our killer delivers. One kill in particular, going viral as ‘The Yoga Kill’, is gaining traction for a reason - it is bloody, brutal and one of the most shocking, vile and outright inventive kills put to screen in years. Just when you think it’s over, it keeps on going, bound to make even those with a strong stomach grimace. Every aspect of this kill delivers something we haven’t seen before, undeniably becoming one for the books. Those who have heard only of this kill and nothing else needn’t fret, as it has plenty more horror to offer up than just one scene. Every murder is mean-spirited, gross and has plenty of the red stuff flowing. Even Johnny himself is terrifying to lay eyes upon, as he’s designed well with gruesome make-up and a face card that certainly declines.


In a Violent Nature commits to delivering a unique experience and it achieves that. This approach may not be for everyone, as it’s been utilised alongside a slow pace, minimal dialogue, subpar storyline and questionable acting. However, it has plenty to offer up to combat this, including the most excellent of kills, glorious cinematography, a gnarly villain and excellent film-making techniques. It puts Chris Nash on the map, and it’s refreshing to see a smaller budget film with a new idea, especially one that is getting people talking. In a Violent Nature is an impressive horror flick that delivers new ideas in a divisive yet commendable way.


Star Rating

Rating In a Violent Nature

In a Violent Nature releases in cinemas July 12




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