In A Violent Nature’s crumbles under weight of its arthouse horror ambitions

IN A Violent Nature, an inversion of the Friday the 13th films, is akin to a nature documentary framed through the eyes of a monstrous force of nature stalking its prey.

From dark recesses of director Chris Nash’s twisted psyche comes Johnny (Ry Barrett), a killer resurrected from the dead and sets out on a single-minded conquest to obliterate every human that haplessly wanders into his line of sight with extreme prejudice.

Killer POV

For most of the film, In A Violent Nature is filmed in daytime. To further evoke a sense that viewers are watching a twisted documentary, 90% of the film is shot from Johnny’s point of view.

Unlike the wide shots in regular horror films, almost every kill in In A Violent Nature is a close-up. Viewers of this movie are not watching most of the murders from a camera that is set up several metres away.

The viewers watch the kills as though they are an invisible entourage hovering over Johnny’s shoulder as he tears his victims apart.

A stand out scene was Johnny’s resurrection, in which he is seemingly buried in real life and digs his way out, with the camera left stationary and fixed as his hulking physique pushes and unearths himself.

The practical effects further extend to Johnny’s kills that are gruesome and satirically funny at times. One sequence involving a girl doing yoga easily enters the Slasher Kill Hall of Fame for its sheer audacity and lunacy.

$!The one-dimensional characters only exist to pile up the body count.

Walking pace monotony

There are quite a few of these distinct choices that will excite arthouse horror and gore fans but then, there are others that will test the patience of viewers.

In between Johnny’s kills, there is a lot of walking in the film. To paint a better picture, Johnny kills eight people in the film’s 90 minute runtime. That averages out to one person being murdered every 18 minutes, with lot of screen time devoted to Johnny meandering from one crime scene to the next.

A chunk of the time spent filming Johnny walking could have been used to build dread and tension. The few times Nash does, it is excellent, such as when he has Johnny stand near a group of characters and they fail to notice him due to the poor forest lighting and heavy foliage.

The plodding nature of the movie is made slightly worse due to Johnny having no personality. His backstory as a mentally disabled boy is a terrible hackneyed horror trope that does not provide any depth to the character.

$!One particular kill sequence should be experienced with a group of friends.

In A Violent Nature’s flaws are common pitfalls when it comes to these types of arthouse horror films, in which directors tend to get lost in their own self-satisfying pretentiousness as their intent is focused on making something high-brow and different.

There is little denying people will either hate the film or love it and even slasher purists seem split down the middle on whether they like the movie because as it turns out, just having great kill scenes is not enough to make a good slasher film.

In A Violent Nature is available on video-on-demand platforms.