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Review: Slasher 'In a Violent Nature' told from killer's point of view

Adam Graham, The Detroit News on

Published in Entertainment News

Somewhere between the art house and the grind house lies "In a Violent Nature," a slasher movie with a clever narrative twist: It's told from the perspective of the killer, rather than that of the hapless victims who are picked off one by one, which makes it sort of like Freddy or Jason's home movies, if they hired a documentary crew to follow them around.

In the woods — isn't it always in the woods? — a big, beefy guy (Ry Barrett) lumbers through the trees. He's silent, his clothes are tattered and caked in blood, and it looks like it's been a long time since he's had a good day. He spends his time slowly stalking toward his victims, the dolts who come to the woods for a weekend to party and hook up, and we watch him from behind as he gets ever closer to his prey.

The long shots of the killer slowly walking are reminiscent of Gus Van Sant's "Gerry," which was mostly made up of shots of its protagonists wandering through the desert. That makes "In a Violent Nature" a rather heady horror film, though its gruesome kills — including one where a victim is pretzeled in a surprisingly inventive manner — will undoubtedly satiate the bloodlust of horror fans.

As for the story, we're given pieces of the killer's myth, such as it is, through the most old-fashioned of narrative tropes: a campfire tale. This is one of the instances where writer and director Chris Nash abandons the rules of his premise, but it's not a deal breaker: He's working with low stakes, and he elevates his elements simply through his camera work and storytelling.

"In a Violent Nature" isn't a reinvention of the form, but Nash shows that with a little ingenuity, everything that's old can feel new again.

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'IN A VIOLENT NATURE'

 

Grade: B-

No MPA rating (extreme horror violence, language, adult situations)

Running time: 1:34

How to watch: In theaters May 31

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