The Violent Kind Review

Directed by Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores, who refer to themselves as The Butcher Brothers, The Violent Kind is their third feature film following The Hamiltons (2006) and April Fool’s Day (2008).

The film begins with a sex scene between a man and woman which climaxes with the woman punching the man in the face. The man then walks outside and gets in a fight with someone he owes money to and assisted by his friends they beat hell out of him. The three friends are members of a Californian biker gang and sex and violence are very much part of their lives. The opening credits play against this back drop of violence and a selection of headlines about biker gang violence.

The film at this point, only around 15 minutes in, seems to shift in tone to be much more serious and dramatic than the opening. After this schlocky, ripped from the headlines violent opening the story takes us to a biker gang party to celebrate the birthday of the mother of Cody (one of the three friends). Cody’s not having a great time at the party as his ex-girlfriend Michelle is there with her new boyfriend. Her sister though starts to open up to Cody that she has always had a crush on him and that she wrote to him whilst he was in prison. With the party almost over the central characters remain at the house but things start to get weird as Michelle becomes crazed and starts attacking the group.

Later a gang of psychotic rockabillys turn up and things get even stranger and more violent. The gang is led by a manic ringleader who is intent on using Michelle in some sort of strange ritual and the film at this point takes another turn and the direction it goes in is another genre entirely. These shifts in tone and genre could have been done so much better and it is a shame that a film that has so much style (I loved the use of 50s aesthetics and cultural references) and what is a somewhat inventive script could be so underwhelming.

At times comical, dramatic and horrific the film is sadly never really funny, moving or scary. With the twists in the direction of the plot and tone this could be a fun and crazy film that engages in part due to the audience not knowing where it’s going to go next. Although this is impossible to predict, where it goes just isn’t interesting enough.

There is one theme throughout though that did grab me but it did feel a little lacklustre. The film in a way questions the violent nature of human beings and the violent nature of the main characters. It is the final comments by the rockabilly gang leader that carry weight in an otherwise lightweight script and these added to the impression I had that The Butcher Brothers had something to say with the film. The film didn’t necessarily need this though, it wasn’t really any better because of it, and it could have been an entertaining B movie horror without it if they had focused more on a tighter plot and a more gripping story.

Overall The Violent Kind is stylistically interesting but in trying to make a film with diverse elements The Butcher Brothers have unfortunately made a film with a lot of weak elements that could have been stronger. There were times when I enjoyed The Violent Kind but it wasn’t the crazy trip that it could have been.
I’ve embedded three promotional clips that were released to market The Violent Kind. I really love the trailers and clips that have come out for the film and if more of the sick and twisted humour in these clips was in the film it could have worked a lot better.

This review was originally posted at HeyUGuys.