Friday, May 13, 2011

The Violent Kind (2010)

Doo Wop 'Til You Drop...Dead

The Butcher Brothers have come a long way since their 8 Films To Die For entry The Hamiltons back in 2006. Sure, they're still calling themselves "The Butcher Brothers", but who am I to nitpick? With producers Malek Akkad (son of legendary Halloween series producer Moustapha Akkad) and Jeffrey Allard (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes) behind them, the co-directors have made their most polished and exciting low-budget horror film yet, The Violent Kind. All they needed was a little rockabilly.

The film centers around the younger members of a biker gang, most of whom were "born into it" through their biker parents. From the opening sex scene to the brawl that occurs right after, you get a sense that our protagonists are accustomed to a rough, party-hard lifestyle on the mean streets of (a surprisingly Caucasian) Oakland. Cody (Cory Knauf, The Hamiltons) and his aforementioned friends Q (Bret Roberts, May) and Elroy (Nick Tagas, Pig Hunt) head deep into the Northern California woods to celebrate his mother's birthday in a secluded farmhouse that's been in the gang for generations. As soon as they arrive, Cody's ex-girlfriend Michelle (scream queen Tiffany Shepis in a usual bitchy/slutty role) comes in with a new guy and begins causing trouble.

As the party dies down, all that remain in the house are Cody, Q, Elroy, Megan (Michelle's sister who has been left stranded) and Cody's cousin Shade, who is also Q's gal. It seems like they're in for a night of even more drinking and partying until Michelle returns to the house covered in blood and asking for help. Before you can say "28 Days Later", Michelle is going crazy and viciously attacking the gang, nearly killing Elroy. But just when you think this is going to be another zombie/infected rehashing, a group of 50's era rockabillies arrive and take over the house, demanding that they extract what is now inside of Michelle's body.

Upon beginning The Violent Kind, I was worried about what direction it was going to take. I knew nothing about the film, except that it had to do with bikers and a bloody girl played by Tiffany Shepis. Some scenes had me wondering "Is this going to be a revenge film?", others had me going "Oh, Christ. Please, not zombies again" and then finally, some had me thinking "Okay, wait. I didn't see this coming. What is actually happening?" I mean, a group of maniacal doo-wop rockabillies who seem invulnerable and only want something living inside of a girl? Yeah, I was pretty confused. But after sitting through the rest of the movie, I was left extremely sated with the final result. I also enjoyed that the rockabilly gang seems to have a sense of sympathy, particularly their leader Vernon (Joe Egender), who makes a surprisingly touching speech near the end.

I have to hand it to The Butcher Brothers for writing a wholly original screenplay and then directing it with the same passion. The opening credits play like something right out of The Devil's Rejects and the rest of the movie has a similar vibe with its unusual soundtrack and violent home invasion scenario. The ending leaves a little to be desired in terms of questions being unanswered, but I would imagine that the viewers will eventually have grasped enough to fill in at least ninety-five-percent of the blanks.

For low-budget horror, The Violent Kind is definitely worth viewing. The special effects are far better than you'd expect, as is the acting, cinematography, and plot. Considering that nearly the entire cast is from previous Butcher Brothers' films (where the acting was only sub-par), it's apparent that this gang is only getting stronger with each film they make and gee, isn't that...swell?

            3.5/5 Stars


  1. All I really have to say is that anything with Tiffany Shepis in it is worth at least one viewing, even the shitty ones (like Embrace the Darkness 3). I can never get enough of Ms. Shepis. Would also love to see a lot more of Jenny Spain (Deadgirl). Now that movie fucking rocked! I don't care what the critics say. And I liked this film a lot more than I expected. I especially enjoyed seeing Tiffany up on the ceiling. Loved that scene.

  2. oh god. i've been dying to get a review of Deadgirl up but i need to rewatch it. Loved that movie. Amazing soundtrack. Animal Collective are big horror fans, so I loved their addition to this soundtrack as well as Mulberry Street.