IN A VIOLENT NATURE Review by Steve Kirkham

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IN A VIOLENT NATURE

3 stars
Altitude Film Entertainment. UK Cinemas 12th July

The film starts as it means to go on. At a distance… as if you are looking in on it. Disconnected. It opens with a locked off shot of rotten wood, the base of a fire tower in the forest. Several voices discuss a gold necklace. There is talk of the White Plains Slaughter. But we don’t see any of the people. Weird.

The camera slowly pans across to reveal the locket they are talking about. One of them takes it as they leave. Undoubtedly a mistake! We are clued in that this is some kind of art house horror. We then see, though indistinctly , someone scrabbling out of the ground, breaking through the blanket of leaves. Our undead killer, who the film follows (literally). Cue the first (of many, many) scenes of the back of the head of this character, as he walks with purpose through the trees, foliage crunching underfoot – we later learn he is called Johnny and local legend has it that the gold locket held him at bay.

There really isn’t much to this film, which inexplicably (to me anyway) is garnering lots of often rapturous reviews – claiming it is some kind of reinvention of the slasher genre. Sorry, but I don’t get it. The group of youngsters are basically just kill fodder and we get lots, and lots, and lots of footage of the murderous antagonist trudging through the undergrowth in the forest. To what end… I have no idea.

The concept, of showing (sort of) the film from the killer’s perspective is an interesting one, except it makes for one monumentally boring viewing experience. There is no real tension built up, with the lack of music not helping – this was a conscious choice on the part of debuting writer/director Chris Nash apparently.

There are a few bright spots within the meandering about in the trees – the mask that Johnny finds and puts on is quite cool, and there are some incredible, and supremely nasty kills – utilising excellent practical make-up fx – which may well satisfy the gorehounds out there, including one of a girl having her head pulled through her stomach. Unfortunately this isn’t enough to keep the interest.

There’s some nonsense near the end about a ranger and a bear attack which I think is trying to explain motiveless killing. And then the film just kind of peters out …

Is this some kind of art house parody of a slasher movie? Maybe I am missing the point! I wavered between a 3 star and a 2 star rating on this one…

Steve Kirkham