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‘In A Violent Nature’ (review)

Streaming services releasing original content is often met with skepticism, and while the horror platform Shudder certainly has some stinkers on its résumé, it has nonetheless managed to impress with some delectable offerings in recent years, Late Night with Devil being the latest to receive much acclaim from critics and audiences alike.

Now, we have another Shudder original on our hands with the Canadian production In A Violent Nature.

Largely foregoing the usual exposition dumping, In A Violent Nature utilizes the concept of “show, don’t tell” to its fullest, as we follow a silent, hulking killer as he slowly but surely makes his way around a lush woodland, dispatching anyone trespassing on his territory in increasingly gruesome ways.

The scenario is a well-known one otherwise, as we have a seemingly immortal, lumbering behemoth a la Jason Voorhees as the antagonist, and a generic, expendable group of clueless teens as well as a few knowing locals, all of whom meet fates of varying degrees of gruesomeness.

However, in spite of using the most trite of slasher movie scenarios, the change of perspective makes the film a welcome curiosity, and the genuinely creative filmmaking choices all help to make the film a rather delightful addition to the world of horror movies.

What particularly stands out is the sound design.

Devoid of a score, the film instead relies on intricate sound design to pull the viewer in, the sounds of nature creating an unnerving juxtaposition of the peaceful indifference of nature against the purposeful brutality of a supernatural killer.

In terms of the gore, while it does take some time before we get to the killing, the film showcases impressively detailed practical effects, and offers one of the most delightfully grotesque kills in recent memory, which is an instant horror hall of fame entry.

Here, the sound design and lack of score again come into play, as the kills run unpleasantly long with a comically perverse undercurrent to the blood-spattered spectacle, pushing the killing aspect to a point that is darkly humorous in a way rarely seen outside the likes of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Impressively committed to its concept, the only point where the film somewhat lets itself down is towards the very end, as the final moments after the inevitable showdown against the antagonist feel forced and unnecessary, albeit the film still manages to end on a note of uncomfortable tension.

In terms of pacing, some will undoubtedly find the film painfully slow, and it is definitely an artsy affair, which can understandably be an acquired taste.

Others in turn will find the general concept incredibly pretentious, however, for horror fans who have the patience to sit with the film on its own terms, In A Violent Nature shows us how a change in perspective can make a film with even the most tired tropes associated with the slasher genre an interesting watch, making the film a gory and humorously subversive treat, offering another worthwhile addition to Shudder’s ever-expanding list of original films.

Verdict: 8 out of 10.

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Produced by Peter Kuplowsky. Shannon Hanmer
Written and Directed by Chris Nash
Starring Ry Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Cameron Love,
Reece Presley, Liam Leone, Charlotte Creaghan, Lea Rose Sebastianis,
Sam Roulston, Alexander Oliver, Lauren Taylor

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