Cody (Cory Knauf) and his brother Q (Bret Roberts) are members of an infamous Californian biker gang - the type of boys you don't want to make enemies with. Late one Friday evening they take the long drive out of town to the families cabin in the woods, where their mother and a group of friends are celebrating her fiftieth birthday with a typically debauched and hedonistic party.
Later, after the party has broken up and most of the guests have left, Cody's ex-girlfriend Michelle (Tiffany Shepis) turns up bloodied and in agony. It appears that someone or something has been having a good time at her expense. However when the remaining friends, including Q's girlfriend Megan (Christina Prousalis) and Michelle's sister Shade (Taylor Cole) attempt to get help, their plans are thwarted with the arrival of a rival gang who appear to have stepped straight out of the 1950's. But this new group of thugs, who make Cody's family look like the Brady Bunch, aren't looking for trouble - well they are, but that's not their sole purpose. They have much more sinister ends in mind, and Cody and co have become unwitting pawns in their twisted game.
A friend of mine once said that she wouldn't go and see a particular film as watching it would mean that she had wasted two hours of her life which she could never get back. After watching The Violent Kind I know what she meant.
There are some films which leave you questioning how anyone could have been involved in such a gratuitous piece of filth, let alone watched it (though I guess the fact that the duo who co-wrote and directed it are known as ‘The Butcher Brothers’ should have rung alarm bells). After the opening scene which involves the three main male characters (I won't use the term heroes as they hardly warrant that description - they're simply the lesser of two evils), pulping two members of a rival gang, I was about to turn the film off. However I suppose a fatal fascination made me continue to watch - could it possibly go any lower? The answer is yes - a lot!
Some of you may remember me saying in my recent STARBURST review for the film Mother's Day that I could "find absolutely nothing to say in favour of this cinematic abomination". Well The Violent Kind goes one better, or perhaps that should be worse. At least you could have had some kind of pity for the victims of De Mornay's sadistic character and her dysfunctional family. Here however you feel nothing for any of the people involved, except perhaps the two girlfriends who, to a degree, are hapless bystanders to the grisly goings on. However even they are pretty wanton, and not the kind of girls you'd take round to granny's for Sunday tea.
If I say that this film makes The Evil Dead (with which it bares some resemblance plot wise - in as far as it involves a group of young people partying in a house in the woods, where one of their female members gets possessed and has to be chained up for her own safety and that of everyone else) look like an episode of Scooby Doo, you'll realise that there isn't much going for it. Where the notorious 80's schlocker managed to get away with an horrendous amount of violence and on screen gore because it did it all with a degree of black humour and its tongue (at least those which hadn't been bitten, cut or torn out) planted firmly in its cheek, The Violent Kind, makes no such pretence. Blood flows freely, especially when the rival gang turns up, and as well as the frequent beatings the various characters inflict on each other we have finger amputation with the slash of a knife, a slit throat, suicide by shotgun (the remains of the headless body are dwelt on unnecessarily in a lingeringly extended shot), a large chunk getting bitten out of one boy's throat and towards the end multiple stabbings which seem to go on ad nauseam.
With elements of several different genres, the film is at times in danger of becoming confused. We have horror, enough of which has already been said I think. Sci-fi, when it emerges that some kind of alien force is causing the mayhem and has taken over the bodies of the rival gang in order to carry out its diabolical plan of world domination - at least I guess this is its aim though it's never fully explained (maybe they're leaving that for the sequel?). And drama with the infighting between the brothers and their relationships with their girlfriends, along with a bit of 50's inspired, Rebel Without a Cause tension, when the alien possessed bad boys turn up. Whew, it all gets too much! Those who know their British horror film history might see similarities with 1973's cult shocker Psychomania, however that is probably doing Don Sharp's classic an injustice. Towards the end there is a nice little nod towards Stephen King with the inference that a town has been taken over by the invading aliens and Shade and Cody realising there is no escape from the inevitable doom to come, but this is unfortunately too little too late to save this sickening exercise in depravity.
The 1 star rating I give the film is for no other reason than that the Californian scenery is beautiful, and the interior of the family's weekend cabin where the whole nasty business takes place, looks like something from World of Interiors - though I expect its off white colour scheme is there to show off the blood and gore better, rather than for any aesthetic reasons.
I'll finish there as I don't want to dwell on this film any longer. I won't be recommending The Violent Kind to my friend. I don't want to be accused of losing her two hours of her life which she won't be able to get back.
The Violent Kind opens in select UK cinemas on the 22nd July 2011, and is released on DVD on the 25th July 2011.