Image Entertainment // 2010 // 88 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // April 22nd, 2011
All this killing and violence is so unnecessary, but it seems to be the only thing you people respond to.
The drive-in's back, and the Butcher Brothers have got it. But what to do with it? Suggestion: Not this.
The Violent Kind introduces us to three members of a "hard-ass" biker gang known, poetically, as "The Crew." Given that the film is cast with people who look more like models than hoodlums, they should have called the gang "The J. Crew." These guys look like hard-ass biker gang members the way The Golden Girls looked like Mafia assassins.
After the nominal head biker guy, "Q" (Bret Roberts, S. Darko), ridiculously takes down some much larger dude whom he scammed in a bad drug deal, he and two other badass boy-banders, Cody (Corey Knauf, The Hamiltons) and Elroy (Elroy?) (Nick Tagas, Pig Hunt), head off to a cabin in the woods. The cabin, which resembles a typical suburban home, is apparently the long-standing headquarters/party house of this apparently long-standing gang -- Cody's dad was a member. The party is for Cody's mother, an aging biker chick.
After a few scenes of pointless revelry, Mom and a few older-looking extras in leather vests and bandanas exit the party, perhaps to appear as extras on Sons of Anarchy. The film now switches over to a brooding relationship conundrum, with Cody mooning over his ex-girlfriend, Michelle (Tiffany Shepis, Bryan Loves You), who's hooked-up with yet another manscaped pin-up. Cody is consoled by Michelle's "straight" little sister, Megan (Christina Prousalis). Michelle and the boytoy leave, Cody and Megan share a moment, Q gets down with his woman, Shade (Taylor Cole, Surrogates), and Elroy (Elroy?) is left as the fifth wheel.
Then, a bloodied Michelle staggers back to the house. The others carry the bedraggled floozy into the bedroom, and the boys take a walk up the block and discover her now-dead boy buddy in a car. Since they can't figure out what caused the damage -- the car is untouched, only the people are messed up -- they return to the house and fret over the injured Michelle. Later, Elroy decides that the sight of a bleeding and bruised woman is too enticing, so he tries something naughty with the incapacitated girl. Bad move. The mysterious force that attacked Michelle's car has also possessed/mind controlled/incubated her, and Michelle rebuffs Elroy's advances by trying to eat him.
This causes much consternation among the whiny outlaws, so they attempt to restrain Michelle as she tries to eat the rest of the gang and later walks on the ceiling. Everyone squabbles over whether they should high-tail it out of there or stay with the wall-crawling Michelle and the half-eaten Elroy, but it's a moot point, since some "Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"-like force is monkeying around with the cars and the cell phone reception. Complicating things: the arrival of a bunch on nonsequitorial characters done up in '50s fashions -- like refugees from a Glee salute to Grease -- spouting indulgently scripted gibberish about violence, James Dean, and outer space babies. Nonsense ensues, denouement suffers.
The Violent Kind was written and directed by the Butcher Brothers, which is the nom de film of Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores. They are not real brothers, they are not real butchers, and based on this film, it's hard to think of them as "real" filmmakers. The Violent Kind isn't just a bad film, it's transgressively idiotic. It's not sunk by the low budget, which includes apparently laptop-created special effects; it's not just derailed by the dreadful acting by people who are completely miscast.
The Violent Kind is done in by a wretched script and pathologically poor direction. The film misguidedly hopscotches through so many exploitation genres that you could easily make a drinking game out of it. There's nothing wrong with referencing old exploitation films -- Quentin Tarantino has built a pretty credible reputation by doing just that (and if you're keeping score, Q's real name is "Quentin") -- but here's it's done with such aggravating artlessness that it comes off like a school project by a cluelessly serious and self-absorbed seventh grader with a cool DVD collection. The film gracelessly pings from biker saga (a conceit abandoned pretty early on; the "gang" might as well be short order cooks) to relationship drama (with reams of dialogue explaining painfully uninteresting heartache stories) to violent possessed-being horror (you've seen that one before) to "human drama" (everybody's got issues with everybody else and they use Michelle's compromised state as an excuse for some impromptu therapy sessions) and finally, to some kind of sci-fi mess (the ridiculously animated greasers, evidently, are not of this Earth).
After sitting through nearly 90 minutes of this, you'd think we'd at least get some kind of satisfying, coherent resolution, something that explains why characters die, come back, and then disintegrate, or why Michelle is dragged into a room naked while a laser show ensues, but the Butchers don't bother with that. The '50s guys make cryptic utterances that, I guess, are supposed to clue us into some kind of message, but since these statements sound like they were lifted from a batch of postmodern fortune cookies, they don't really resonate, and we get nothing in the way of context. The expected "twist" ending is just idiotic and badly staged. The whole thing is just a drawn out, boring, impenetrable cheat.
In the slim plus column, there are a few suspenseful moments, some reasonable gore, and a minute or two of gratuitous nudity, but none of this can salvage this train wreck.
Image sent over a screener for review. According to their website, the disc will include an anamorphic transfer, 5.1 surround track, and some extras; the screener, however, offers a full-frame transfer, 2.0 stereo track, and no supplements save for a trailer.
The court has heard the arguments from the law firm of Shoddy, Shoddy, and Dumb and declares The Violent Kind a video pox. The only real kind of violence this film might encourage will be angry consumers demanding reimbursement.
Review content copyright © 2011 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R