THE VIOLENT KIND took me completely by surprise. I knew nothing about this film and in doing so, I was kicked to the back of my seat as I watched it unfold at how utterly unique this film was and how inventive the folks behind it are. I’m going to give a SPOILER FREE and a SPOILER LADEN review to this bad boy of a film. For those who want to experience the film like I did, skip to the last paragraph of the review and just know that this is a film full of lefts when you expect rights, nightmares instead of dreams, and performances that resonate far beyond the screen and into your worst nightmares. This is a film that takes expectations and curb-stomps them.
***SPOILERS***Going into this film, I could gather from the title that I was in for a whole bunch of ultra violence and as the opening credits rolled by with the main characters (members of a biker gang called The Crew) beat and kick the snot out of a bald guy out of nowhere, it looks like I was going to get some kind of biker version of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE with winks and nods to those biker films of the sixties and seventies which glorified the biker lifestyle. There’s talk of initiation into the biker gang, beer swilling, hard/punk rocking, and all kinds of grease monkeying around. For the most part, that’s what you get for the first 30 minutes of the film. I thought this was going to be an R rated, ultra violent version of SONS OF ANARCHY, but then, just when I’m getting comfortable with this genre, everything slides into David Lynch-ville by way of Cthulhu and THE EVIL DEAD as scream queen Tiffany Shepis returns from making out with her new boyfriend covered in blood and making like a crimson Linda Blair with a taste for throats. As Shepis craws the walls and speaks all demon-y, I settled into another relaxed state saying “Oh cool. It’s like EVIL DEAD. Nice.” Then a bunch of creepy 50’s punks come out of nowhere looking like the extras in BLUE VELVET talking about ghosts, other worlds, and evil ones. As the killer punks torment the bikers and set up some kind of ritual to bring an ancient other-worldly evil into our existence, I gave up trying to pigeon-hole this film and realized this was something utterly, entirely original and amazing.
The performances by the entire cast is fantastic. The bikers are lanky losers with hearts of gold. Enough time is spent in the beginning to at first loathe them, but compared to the killer punks who show up later to torment our bikers, you can’t help but root for them. Vernon (played by Joe Egender) is a vicious cross between BLUE VELVET’s Frank and Giovanni Ribisi on crack. His cohorts in death are Jazz and Murderball, both serving up equal doses of insanity and grotesque violence. Crossed with Shepis’ bold performance as a possessed biker chick and Cory Knauf’s noble biker with a heart of gold, and you’ve got a rock solid cast in all of this batshit craziness.***END SPOILERS***
Writers/directors The Butcher Brothers are a talented pair; skillfully juggling genres like they had twelve arms. THE VIOLENT KIND will most definitely shock and surprise you. It defies labels and genre clichés and keeps you guessing up until the very end. If you haven’t seen the film, I hope you don’t read the spoilers here. Go into it as fresh as I did and I guarantee you will be surprised and entertained.