10 Films to Stream (for Free) if You Loved ‘In a Violent Nature’

in a violent nature

Chris Nash’s In a Violent Nature is one of the most smashing horror releases of the year. I’m talking both Nigel Thornberry smashing and “I wonder what Johnny is going to do with that giant boulder” smashing. It’s a stylish descent into slasher mundanity with a stellar industrial throughline and a pretty remarkable final girl in Andrea Pavlovic. Presently, In a Violent Nature is in theaters with plans to release on Shudder later this year. While the film subverts expectations at every turn—it’s often deliberately slow and there’s no musical score—its most remarkable feat is its commitment to remaining in the POV of its forest-bound killer, Johnny.

If you’re interested in more horror films from the vantage point of a killer, check out ten of the best you can stream for free right now.

Peeping Tom (Tubi)

You need to watch Peeping Tom on the off-chance Ghostface calls and wants to know which slasher was the first to put the audience in the killer’s POV. Otherwise, you’ll look as foolish as Kirby Reed did in Scream 4. Michael Powell’s controversial classic follows Karlheinz Boehm’s Mark Lewis, an aspiring filmmaker and snuff film extraordinaire as he gathers footage of victims’ final moments, wanting to capture their fear at its peak. Reassessed considerably since release, Peeping Tom is one of the most influential slasher films around, inspiring everything from Black Christmas to, yes, In a Violent Nature.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (AMC+)

Scott Glosserman’s Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a contemporary classic for a reason. A documentary crew follows the titular Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) around as he walks them through the quotidian expectations of slasher killers, whether that’s victim selection or trope adherence. The metatextual first half works better than the more conventional finale, but Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is no less reverent of 80s slashers than In a Violent Nature, just in a cheekier, more pronounced way.

Pearl (Prime Video)

Pearl, the second in Ti West’s planned trilogy, is just as stylized as In a Violent Nature, though rather than stripping the slasher template down to its bare bones, Pearl instead imbues it with technicolor madness. X ostensibly bears more in common with In A Violent Nature, what with the meandering pace and uber-violent kills. But Pearl wins out for keeping audiences tethered to the titular maniac as they slowly descend into madness. It’s whacky, funny, frightening, and, for my money, leagues better than West’s first foray into this world.

Maniac (Pluto TV)

Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac is one of the most technically accomplished slasher films of the century. A loose remake of the 1980 original, Elijah Woods stars as Frank Zito, a disturbed young man whose modus operandi is scalping women and placing his trophies atop the mannequins he keeps, desperate to retain the one happy memory he has from childhood. Filmed entirely from Wood’s first-person perspective, Maniac chills like few others. Like In a Violent Nature, it regularly feels like a serial killer slice of life with disturbing bouts of gruesome carnage.  

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (Peacock)

One of the scariest movies ever made, John McNaughton’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is loosely inspired by real serial killer Henry Lee Lucas and his relationship with killer Ottis Toole. Michael Rooker delivers one of the greatest performances the genre has ever seen in an austere, matter-of-fact delineation of a serial killer’s life. It forces you to stay with Henry for the entire film whether you want to or not. By the time that home invasion tape is played, you’ll want nothing but to turn your own television off and take a bath.

Angst (Tubi)

Like Henry, Gerald Kargl’s Angst is similarly inspired by a real-life killer. In this case, it’s Werner Kniesek. Angst’s quasi-fictional unnamed killer spends the duration of the movie tormenting a family after he breaks into their house. It’s disturbing, violent, and confrontational. Horror movies revel in bloodshed. Like In a Violent Nature, Angst endeavors to remind audiences what that bloodshed would really look like.  

The House That Jack Built (Roku Channel)

More than any other entry on this list, Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built is an endurance test. Running more than two-and-a-half hours long, Trier’s homicidal vignettes track the decade-long killing spree of the titular killer as he recounts his crimes to Virgil in Hell. It’s weird, fascinating, polarizing stuff. The artistry doesn’t mean Trier skimped on the violence, so this house might not be habitable for most audiences. If you can stomach it, I can promise it’ll be unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Rope (Prime Video)

This Alfred Hitchcock classic follows two young men who, after murdering a classmate to prove they can commit the perfect murder, hide his body in their apartment before hosting a dinner party with several of the victim’s family members in attendance. This was 1948, so it never gets too grim, but it is a distinctly chilling account of murder for sport with an experimental style creating the impression that Rope plays out in real-time.

The Killer (Netflix)

David Fincher’s The Killer is both the newest entry on this list and the one that’s most removed from the horror moniker. Horror or not, however, The Killer is distinctly chilling. Michael Fassbender’s hitman is consciously detached from his crimes, treating them with the mundanity of a day at the office. When a hit goes wrong, he’s left to clear up loose ends before he has to pay with his own life. It’s meandering (deliberately so), darkly funny, and just a tad upsetting. Come for the high-concept premise, stay for Tilda Swinton.

The Vanishing (Prime Video)

George Sluizer’s Dutch thriller is regularly regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made for good reason. Even without taking the ending into account, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu’s Raymond Lemorne is one of the genre’s greatest monsters. Like several others on this list, he simply is. While he’s not quite as animalistic as In a Violent Nature’s Johnny, he’s similarly detached from his crimes. He kills because he can.

Berlin Syndrome (Netflix)

Thematically akin to The Vanishing, Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome principally forces viewers to follow the perspective of the villain. Andi (Max Riemelt) locks Clare (Teresa Palmer) in his apartment after the two spend the night together, and then he just… goes about his life. He goes to work, has dinner with his family, and just generally carries on as if he doesn’t have a kidnapped backpacker chained to his bed. Psychologically involved, Berlin Syndrome is elevated by two fantastic lead performances (seriously, Palmer is incredible), and if you just watch one film on this list, I’m going to suggest it be this one.

What do you think? Were you a fan of In a Violent Nature? How do you feel more generally about horror films that follow the POV of the killer? Sound off @Chadiscollins on Twitter.



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