Reviewed by Evil Andy
Starring Cory Knauf, Taylor Cole, Bret Roberts, Christina Prousalis, Tiffany Shepis
Directed by The Butcher Brothers
Well, you’ve got to give it to the self-proclaimed Butcher Brothers. They packed a whole lotta wacky shit into their film The Violent Kind. This is a movie impossible to recommend but also hard to totally dismiss since its varied influences including Evil Dead, Lost Highway, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Helter Skelter, Lovecraftian lore, and alien invasion films cover so much ground that there’s sure to be something for everyone even if in aggregate the movie’s defining trait is that it’s so bad it’s good.
The Violent Kind‘s protagonists are supposed to be a rough and tumble California biker gang, but the casting of a bunch of Hollywood dreamboats dressed as Sunset Strip hipsters rings false right from the get-go. “The Crew” composed of the leader “Q” (Bret Roberts), twitchy perv Elroy (Nick Tagas), and Hayden Christensen meets Dominic Monaghan lookalike Cody (Cory Knauf) head up to a remote mountain cabin to party. Sometime in the middle of the night Cody’s ex-girlfriend Michelle (Tiffany Shepis) turns up covered in blood and babbling incoherently. At this point the laughable biker dialog and groan-inducing character development thankfully give way to a more fun demonic possession subplot that, while never really explained, at least provides a reason for some gratuitous bloodletting.
At this point The Violent Kind probably sounds like a generic Evil Dead knock-off, but just when you think you’ve got the movie figured out, it throws you a curveball. It’s never made totally clear, but Michelle is either a) incubating the spawn of Cthulhu, b) the mortal flesh-portal to alien invasion, or c) metamorphosing into the leader of a gang of time traveling 50’s era greaser cultists. If you just mouthed the words “what the fuck?”, you’d be in the ballpark.
For seemingly no reason other than hipster appeal, the bad guys that show up in the latter half of the movie are all pompadour and tattoo sporting hipsters who espouse Jimmy Dean but seem more like Suicide Girl hanger-ons. The movie most comparable to The Violent Kind is probably Jeremy Kasten’s 2007 atrocity The Wizard of Gore, which fell into the same trap of depicting LA cool and thinking it made up for a poor storyline and unengaging characters.
That’s not to say that the film is all bad, though. There are some genuinely funny scenes and laugh out loud moments. Whether it be the party guy with the brains dribbling out the back of his head (Sherilyn Fenn in Wild At Heart anyone?) asking, “Hey, man, what are we doing after this?”; horny Elroy trying to cop a feel of the gore covered Michelle; or one of the greasers smashing his face against the wall as penance for swearing, there are a lot of dumb, but fun, moments in the movie. Given that the campiness is clearly intentional in some spots, it’s quite mystifying how unintentionally cheesy most of the straight dialog can be. Whether it’s Cody yelling “I gave my life to The Crew!” or falling in love with his prison pen pal who is the only one who can see the good in him (he looks like Dominic-fucking-Monaghan, we can ALL see the good in him for chrissakes!), there was a lot of inopportune laughter in the Fantasia screening I attended.
Ultimately The Violent Kind is going for a sort of B-movie alien invasion feel, and the directors’ influence and love of 50’s era greaser flicks, horror and David Lynch is felt throughout. However, the everything but the kitchen sink approach seems haphazard and, at its worst, lowest common denominator. The movie comes across as crassly commercial with the poster proclaiming “From the producers of Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with the word “remake” nowhere in sight. I couldn’t help but wonder what The Violent Kind would have been with less concern for pure homage and more emphasis on originality.
2 out of 5
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