Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In short: The Violent Kind (2010)

After a family birthday party, a few members (most importantly those played by Cory Knauf, Taylor Cole and Bret Roberts, and the associated "little sister who done good" Megan, played by Christina Prousalis) of a multi-generational gang of bikers with a hand in quite a few illegal pots stay behind in the traditional dark house in the woods for the night. Things get interesting when Michelle (Tiffany Shepis), Megan's big sister who had already left for greener pastures, reappears in front of their door covered in blood, and collapses.

Strangely, Michelle's appearance coincides with a sudden unwillingness of the gang's car to start. Of course, that's only the beginning of everyone's trouble, for soon enough, Michelle turns out to be quite possessed (she even does the popular ceiling crawl). A bit later, the dead come back to life - only to pointlessly explode after ten minutes or so, and finally, five badly made-up, incredibly annoying 50s greasers appear to have a bit of fun with the old ultra-violence and open a dimensional gate for their queen from the Outer Dark.

Ever since I saw their The Hamiltons, I've been thinking the Butcher Brothers (Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores) have at least one very fine horror movie in their future. At least, the project of mixing parts of the sensibilities of US indie drama of the post-Sundance variation with US indie horror that seems to be theirs is one that looks pretty promising to me.

Unfortunately, The Violent Kind still isn't the movie I've been looking for from the duo. What begins decent enough as an Evil Dead variant with more characterization that pretends to have to say something about the violence inside of its characters soon turns into a succession of weird (which is always good) and would-be weird (which is never good) scenes that never come together to form a whole as a movie - it's more a grab-bag of ideas taken from other movies (beside The Evil Dead there's an especially heavy David Lynch influence, something that has never worked for anyone apart from Lynch) that wildly swings from one mood to the next in too distractible a manner to be successful.

I wouldn't complain too loudly if all - or even most - of the film's distractions would actually work, but elements like the undead 50s greasers/outer-dimensional horror cultists - who are probably meant to be bizarrely creepy, but only end up annoying and trying way too hard to be creepy - are built to test even the patience of the more tolerant viewer through the sheer power of bad overacting and conceptual vapidity.

On the positive side, all non-50s greaser acting is pretty good, and the Butcher Brothers belong to a part of the indie horror community that not only knows about the finer points of using a camera and editing, but is also willing and able to apply that knowledge.

That's not enough for a real recommendation (even though the film does have its moments), yet still leaves me with hope for the directors' future films.


No comments: