In a Violent Nature Review

May 25, 2024 - Movies


  • You’re forced into the perspective of a relentless, ghostly killer with
    In a Violent Nature
    , a slasher film with haunting themes.
  • The film can satisfy both arthouse cinephiles and gore hounds who love horror, though it may be too weird or too gross depending on who you are.
  • Chris Nash’s film is a brilliantly photographed slasher with a great hook, and creates some of the most chilling and disgusting moments in horror cinema in recent memory despite being a very slow-burn.

Stanley Kubrick once told The New York Times, “Man isn’t a noble savage, he’s an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved — that about sums it up. I’m interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it’s a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.” The new horror film In a Violent Nature is practically a tone poem about that quote, and has gotten a near-perfect score with critics as a result.

In a Violent Nature sees a traditional, intentionally clichéd horror film play out, except it situates the viewer in the perspective of the indifferent, relentless killer. You follow him in long over-the-shoulder tracking shots throughout Ontario’s woodlands (the film is entirely set in the woods), only rarely breaking away. There aren’t traditional ‘scenes;’ it’s more like someone attached a camera to Jason Voorhees to film a documentary. As such, there’s a kind of slow pacing that might alienate a large chunk of the commercial population, but for the rest of those high-concept fanatics out there who can balance gory horror with the art of Werner Herzog or Carl Dreyer, you’re in for an “unrated” treat. Yes, even the MPAA is no match for the horrific murders depicted here…

Sticking with the Killer This Time

In a Violent Nature poster

In a Violent Nature


In a Violent Nature is a 2024 horror-slasher film written and directed by Chris Nash that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2024. A group of campers in the middle of the wilderness stumble across a fire watchtower and discover a locket buried beneath its charred ruins. However, by unearthing the locket, they’ve invited the wrath of its prior owner and now must survive the rampage of a supernatural killer looking to retrieve his possession.

Release Date
May 31, 2024

Chris Nash

Lauren-Marie Taylor , Andrea Pavlovic , Ry Barrett , Reece Presley

1h 34m

Chris Nash


Shudder , IFC Films


  • An unpredictable, unique, and often beautiful twist on slasher horror.
  • Some of the most inventive and gruesome kills in horror history.
  • Masterful direction and cinematography, with a haunting theme.

  • The arthouse horror film may be too slow and anticlimactic for horror fans, and definitely too gory for arthouse audiences.

In a Violent Nature is already abuzz with hype, with the slasher getting praised by critics for a number of bold and innovative choices, and rightfully so. Nash has voiced his appreciation for the visually striking ways in which Terrence Malick and Gus Van Sant track their protagonists from behind, but with In a Violent Nature, we’re instead trailing the so-called antagonist, known only as “Johnny” (Ry Barrett). Aside from its ending, Nash’s astounding feature only takes a break from following Johnny in rare instances (static establishing shots, dreamlike tracking shots).

This includes a scene involving a circle of teenage pals, one of whom recounts with a thick New England accent the mythological tale of Johnny. His relentless spirit is awoken whenever someone stumbles upon a certain locket in the woods and spurs Johnny to quite literally rise from the grave and murder anyone he happens to cross paths with. Of course, the teens take the locket, and Johnny hunts them down. Besides just a few sequences like this bonfire moment — which is reminiscent of the elegant opening credits scene in Jaws, come to think of it — we remain with Johnny throughout.

As a result, we usually hear moments of dialogue from far off. The sound level of dialogue is directly proportional to the distance Johnny is from its source, which, combined with the camera’s placement directly behind Johnny, situates you right in the killer’s sensory experience. While other films have done this in order to implicate the audience for their salacious and violent desires (Peeping Tom, Funny Games, Salò), In a Violent Nature seems to have a different agenda. It’s an artistic, thought-provoking device that refuses to give in to the temptation of impatient audiences out there who will say, “Just hurry up and get to the action, already!”


Every Horror Movie Releasing in May 2024

Horror in May 2024 comes in many forms to fascinate viewers. Here are the films you should be thrilled about.

Log Splitters May Never Look the Same After This Gory Movie

Speaking of slow-burn moments, it’s impressive just how careful and patient Chris Nash is with the grisly death scenes in the film. In a Violent Nature may be one of the most artistic horror films in recent years, but it absolutely does not resist gruesome gore and disgusting deaths. There are two kill scenes in the film that instantly rank among the greatest deaths in horror history.

One killer sequence involving a log splitter might leave some scratching their heads as to why exactly it continues for so long. Meanwhile, appreciators of slow cinema and film art will probably have no problem with its duration and might even draw a parallel to that incredibly long shot in A Ghost Story (2017), where Rooney Mara’s grieving character devours a pie. In a Violent Nature director Chris Nash recently told us that he, in fact, wanted this scene to extend even longer. Maybe in the hypothetical sequel, which we’d happily welcome: In a More Violent Nature (title pitch).

Then there’s another show-stopping moment, this time between Johnny and pending victim Aurora (Charlotte Creaghan), another teenager who’s performing yoga solo out on the lake, just on the outskirts of the woods that Johnny inhabits. He sneaks up on her, and she at first thinks he’s one of the boyish dudes she’s vacationing with. Once Aurora comes face to face with the weirdly masked Johnny, however, it’s a dialogue-free moment that almost becomes beautiful in a way — but you may or may not end up shielding your eyes as one of the most gruesome deaths we’ve ever seen unfolds on the screen.


20 Horror Movies That Are So Scary, It’s Hard to Watch More Than Once

Not all horror movies can say they achieved maximum scare. Here are 20 films that went beyond scary to downright frightening.

The Ending of a Violent Nature

What might be divisive to audiences, even the ones who can appreciate the slow poetry of In a Violent Nature, is the film’s ending. It’s hard to discuss without giving things a way, but it feels like more of an epilogue from a different film. It breaks the aesthetic rules of the previous 80 minutes, and possibly includes more dialogue (a monologue, really) in 10 minutes than all the speech in the rest of the film combined. It effectively stops the film and says, “Here are the themes of the film and something to think about.”

Some people may like this ending; it’s an anomaly that’s quite fitting for such an iconoclastic film. It’s a head-scratcher, and it could pave the way for a sequel, though that doesn’t seem to be the filmmakers’ intention. It also fills in some symbolic details for In a Violent Nature. By setting the entire film in the woods, and by limiting the audience’s entry point to the killer himself, Nash creates a kind of coldly apathetic, objective, and practically God’s-eye-view look at the violence of nature, both human and natural.


The 20 Best Slow-Burn Horror Movies of All Time

Conventional horror movies scare you for the moment, slow-burn horror movies scar you for days. Here are some of the best.

What’s In a Violent Nature About? A Title, Explained

The title could thus be taken quite literally, with Nash placing the viewer in the violent nature of Ontario (with its little black flies). While the film has drawn comparisons to Malick and Gus Van Sant, it’s actually Werner Herzog who comes to mind the most at the end of In a Violent Nature. Herzog told Les Blank at the end of his documentary, Burden of Dreams:

“It’s much stronger than we are. It’s full of obscenity.
Nature here is vile and base.
I wouldn’t see anything erotical here, I would see fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival and growing and just rotting away. Of course, there is a lot of misery, but it is the same misery that is all around us.
The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don’t think they sing, they just screech in pain.

Ultimately, In a Violent Nature is a disturbing meditation on the relentless indifference of nature (and humanity). This blood-soaked nightmare of a film isn’t for everyone. It is a deconstructed slasher movie, a sort of postmodern (or perhaps pre-modern) Friday the 13th that will appeal to cinephiles with strong stomachs and adventurous horror buffs alike. It’s exciting to think about the kind of project Chris Nash will tackle next.

From IFC Films, In a Violent Nature will be released exclusively in theaters May 31.

Source link

Play Cover Track Title
Track Authors