May 11, 2011

The Violent Kind (2010)

Directed and Written by The Butcher Brothers (Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores). Starring Cory Knauf ("Cody"), Taylor Cole ("Shade"), Bret Roberts ("Q"), and Christina Prousalis ("Megan"). Rated R. Body Count: 5. Boob Count: 19.

Source: Region 1 DVD (Image Entertainment)
Run time: 01:28:39
Country: USA

In THE VIOLENT KIND, the filmmaking duo of the Butcher Brothers bring back the primary cast members of THE HAMILTONS and dress them up as bikers and rockabillies (I don't even know if that's the proper plural term), pitting them against each other in a supernatural showdown. A house party in the hills of Northern Cali is pooped when a female party-goer (Tiffany Shepis) becomes possessed by a demon and tries to kill everyone. The central characters, the bikers, manage to restrain the demonic party-girl, only to have their home seized by a group of ghostly rockabillies who proceed to terrorize them whilst dancing around the living room to '50s tunes.

Honestly, how can you not be sold on that premise? But, does THE VIOLENT KIND deliver more than just a fun idea? The short answer is: not really. Like the aforementioned film from the brothers Butcher, THE HAMILTONS, this one has great ideas and sparks of decency underneath an overall "OK" execution. It's like the directors brainstormed a bunch of set-pieces first but didn't quite know how to make a solid movie that revolved around them, and I mean that respectfully even though it doesn't translate as such. In other words, there seem to be a few pieces missing from the puzzle, and the exact same thing can be said about THE HAMILTONS, which was a refreshing take on a certain sub-genre that I can't mention because it would spoil the movie, but ultimately lacking in spots.

On the plus side, THE VIOLENT KIND has good character development. The protagonists have enough downtime in the film for a back-story to be established, which keeps them from simply being fodder for the bad guys. Speaking of which, the villains are as ridiculous as they sound, which is a good thing. Basically, they're a group of rockabillies and pin-up girls from beyond the grave who are resurrected by an aurora. Yes, aurora, I said. Not only do they add some life to the film (which is ironic since they're dead and all), but they were presented properly. When you have evil dudes with pompadours and a female named "Pussywagon", you can't expect the audience to take them seriously as a threat or otherwise, simply because their aesthetic is too distracting. Fortunately, the villains here were incredibly campy and entertaining, but with enough of a serious side for them to not be a complete joke, and not campy enough to the point where they were obnoxious.

As far as the film's biker aspect, it appears that the directors did their research, or at least watched enough episodes of SONS OF ANARCHY to get a basic idea of biker terminology and the structure of motorcycle clubs. The protagonists in the film are established right away just based on their appearance alone, but the problem is the audience won't get it if they're not familiar with the structure and pecking order of motorcycle clubs in the first place. However, for the viewers who are at least somewhat familiar with the biker culture, whether they be biker movie enthusiasts or actual bikers, the research that was obviously done prior to making the film is appreciated.

It should be noted that the film has a lot of negatives, probably more so than positives. Most of them boil down to how nit-picky the viewer wants to be, but there's one particular flaw in the plot that sticks out like a sore thumb. Without getting into detail about it, something happens towards the back end of the film in which the motive in regards to the villains holding the protagonists captive becomes questionable. Ultimately, certain things in the film which are established just don't pay off, and this goes back to the whole thing feeling solely like a means to feature wacky characters and set-pieces without having a solid story to back them up.

Bitches and gripes aside, is THE VIOLENT KIND an awful movie? Not at all. If you can look beyond the fact that it's not a perfect movie, there's a lot of fun to be had here. I mean, you have tattooed female strippers, a lesbo makeout session that ends with one of the participants being penetrated with a beer bottle, a possessed Tiffany Shepis crawling on the ceiling, a mute rockabilly named Murderball who has a fetish for saran wrap, an acceptable amount of gore, full-frontal female nudity (thanks, Shepis), some great '50s music, and an unnecessary but amusing impromptu dance number in the middle of a home invasion. They don't quite cut up a rug like the Driller Killer from SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II, but they're fine nonetheless.

THE VIOLENT KIND is sure to be a divisive movie, and I can foresee most of the reviews for it as being negative, but I personally found it to be pretty worthwhile despite its faults. I cautiously recommend it as a rental for those who are curious, and if you are willing to check it out, I'd suggest making it a double bill with THE HAMILTONS. Maybe even make it a triple bill with the other Butcher Brothers film, the APRIL FOOL'S DAY "remake" (which wasn't that bad), since a bunch of the actors from this movie are in that one as well.

Score: 6

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