‘In a Violent Nature’ Turns Slasher Genre on Its Ear

Extreme gore, unexpected kills power partially effective thriller

“In a Violent Nature” delivers a Whitman’s sampler of horror tropes.

  • Cabin the woods? Check.
  • Attractive young woman in swimsuits? Check.
  • Characters making the dumbest moves possible? Yup.
  • A masked killer with a creepy backstory? You betcha.

The twist?

Much of the movie is shot from the killer’s perspective. That sets the ultra-glory film apart from previous slasher entries. That conceit isn’t powerful enough at times, and even at a crisp 90 minutes there’s obvious fat to be trimmed.

The film’s gimmick is just enough to recommend it to horror fans. And if you thought the “Terrifier” films pushed the gore envelope, you’re in for a blood-soaked treat. 

In a Violent Nature - "Buckle Up" Trailer | HD | IFC Films

“In a Violent Nature” has little patience for character development, or even characters. We’re watching a supernatural killer rise from his sleep to slaughter everyone in its path.

That’s writer/director Chris Nash’s prime directive. And thank goodness he didn’t go the full Found Footage route. Even though we’re peering over the killer’s shoulder there’s plenty of shots that mimic a conventional film.

Long, slow exhale.

Along the way, we pick up scraps of the killer’s origin story. Seems it’s tied to a mentally challenged boy who was accidentally killed years ago, and his poor father met a similar fate.

Enter Johnny (Ry Barrett). He’ll be your killer for the feature presentation.

His spirit is accidentally summoned as the film opens. The revived monster wants to slice everything in its sight, including the standard-issue partiers.

None of them make an impact, rendering their generic dialogue painful.

The film doesn’t bother with smart phones or other modern gadgets, but it isn’t aggressively set in a specific time period, either. The cast’s collective acting chops echo ‘80s-era slasher films in another throwback element.

That’s not a compliment.

Much of the film asks us to watch the killer shuffling through the woods while we wait for something, anything to happen. We stare at the screen as if we were watching one of the “Paranormal Activity” films. What will move next?

More often than not, it’s just … nothing. There’s plenty of walking, though.

Remember how Randal described the “Lord of the Rings” franchise as “three movies of people walking to a f***ing volcano” in “Clerks II?”

He’d hate “In a Violent Nature.” (Adult language in the following clip)

Clerks II (5/8) Movie CLIP - Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars (2006) HD

It’s still fascinating to watch the beast’s scarred, bald head as he presses on. He’s a force of nature. That approach still leaves too much time for us to check our smartphones.

For every painful stretch, there’s another that makes us sit up straight.

One, strictly for gore-hounds, shows the killer methodically slicing and dicing his victim. Another, shot from overhead, is a brilliant twist on a typical kill sequence.

You marvel at the evil while appreciating how a tired genre can suddenly feel so alive.

There’s little in the way of plotting or depth. It’s a revenge yarn, but even that angle is loosely applied. We’re here for the kills, with a monster that’s unafraid to flash its bottomless cruelty.


The film’s third act suggests a shock for the ages. We don’t get what we expect, a quality seen through much of the movie. That willingness to defy convention is shrewd on paper, but sometimes horror tropes shouldn’t be denied.

Much of the film’s tension comes from audience expectations. We wait for things that almost always happen in horror movies. That awareness powers much of “Violent Nature.” It also reminds us that genre films, no matter the inventive style applied to them, must deliver the goods.

When they don’t …

HiT or Miss: “In a Violent Nature” serves up genre thrills in ways we haven’t seen before. The bad news? You’ll have to be very patient to see them.

One Comment

  1. Based on the semi-negative tone of the Furiosa review and the semi-positive review here, one might think you recommend this film over that. Is that true?

    It’s hard to see where a reviewer from the right (or right of center) even gives film this a middling review.

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