[Review] IN A VIOLENT NATURE – Dave Takes A Stroll In The Woods With A Psycho-Slasher

Two things I learned immediately while screening IN A VIOLENT NATURE – first off, damn – you got to love walking, and second – your hearing gets super-hero strong once you’re resurrected as a vengeful serial slasher. We’ll get to all of this in a few.

Writer/director Chris Nash has managed to pull off something amazing with one of the most simplistic storylines imaginable and he has breathed some new life into a floundering yet beloved sub-genre – the slasher movie.

Most of the slashers we have gotten in recent memory have been either continuations of classic franchises or well-meaning yet (if we’re being honest) tired retreads of stuff we have seen time and time again – IN A VIOLENT NATURE gives us a different perspective – we see large portions of the film through the eyes of the slasher – in this case, Johnny – a rotted corpse of a man just looking to get his mother’s locket returned. If slasher films have taught us nothing – it’s taught us to never get between a psychotic slasher and his mom.

As the film opens we witness (actually, we hear) a couple of annoying dudes – rummaging around the ruins of an old building which time has pretty much left in shambles but hanging on a pedestal is a locket – which they of course promptly steal. Bad idea.

Obviously – the locket being taken awakens Johnny – who was buried in the floor of the building, he claws his way out and – he starts walking – and we walk with him. Nash places the camera about 10 feet behind him – and we wander around the woods – looking, searching, listening.

Lots of looking, lots of searching, lots of listening – eventually Johnnie’s apparently super hearing pics up on two dudes talking – and he turns his rotted body in the direction of the conversation – and that my friends is the basic premise of what happens for the next hour and fifteen minutes. Johnny walks, Johnny hears, and Johnny slaughters whoever is unlucky enough to be around.

Nash has deftly crafted a narrative where the storyline is revealed as we hear it through the ears of Johnny as he mindlessly wanders around in search of the bastards that took the locket – the only exception to this being early in the film when we get a campfire scene – where we meet 95% of the victims – a scene that in my opinion runs long and offers little if any actual important story points – a rare misstep in an otherwise razor-sharp script.

Without a doubt though the highlight and star of this film are the outstanding practical effects and kills. Disturbingly inventive and masterfully executed by Steven Kostanski and his crew – whose name readers may (and damn well better) recognize from films like PSYCHO GORMAN and THE VOID – which he directed. This time though – he’s all in on the FX work and man – he pulls off some next-level stuff. I’m pretty sure that this is the first time since THE THING that I witnessed an effect that made my jaw drop – but the yoga scene, it’s iconic.

The film at times borderlines crossing into “art film” territory but just when you think they might wander down A24 boulevard – they pull it back and remain true to their 80’s gore heritage.

Overall – I completely enjoyed IN A VIOLENT NATURE – while not a perfect film, the practical effects and inventive writing more than make up for the few lulls in story and pacing. I honestly can’t remember how long it’s been since someone created not just a character, but a scenario that was as original – and oddly heartfelt as IN A VIOLENT NATURE – Nash has exposed his fondness for a bygone style of film making by not only revisiting it but also reinventing it – and for that this old horror fan offers you a head nod of apprecation – well played my friend.

IN A VIOLENT NATURE is in theaters now – if you can see it – make it happen.

This old gorehound give this one 4.5 stars…….

  • Review
4.5
Dave Dreher
Co-Founder / Lead News Reporter at Gruesome Magazine
Dave is co-founder and lead news reporter for Gruesome. Dave has built his resume working for Diabolique Magazine, The Horror Channel, Horrornews.net, House of Horrors and Creature Corner. He has worked with Tom Savini on his official site since 1997 and is also co-host of the popular podcast Horror News Radio.