Friday, August 21, 2020

Random Acts of Violence (2020)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Random Acts of Violence (2020)
Genre: Horror
Length: 81 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: Elevation Pictures, Manis Film, Kickstart Productions, Image Comics, JoBro Productions & Film Finance, Trinity Media Financing, Shudder
Director: Jay Baruchel
Writer: Jay Baruchel, Jesse Chabot, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti
Actors: Jesse Williams, Jordana Brewster, Jay Baruchel, Simon Northwood, Niamh Wilson, Isaiah Rockcliffe, Clark Backo, Victoria Snow, Eric Osborne, Nia Roam, Aviva Mongillo, Wade MacNeil, Amir Sám Nakhjavani

Blurb from IMDb: A pair of comic book writers begin to notice scary similarities between the character they created and horrific real-life events.

Selina’s Point of View:
When I was researching the Top 20 for this month, the trailer for Random Acts of Violence came up. I mentioned thinking that it would follow the well-known recipe we see all the time in cop dramas that feature a horror/mystery writer in a protagonist position. You know, the one where the fan of the writer brings the murders in the book to life.

Now, there was some of that in there, but there was a lot more to it than that. The trailer did a very good job of hiding the real plot from us.

Every time you think it’s going to stick to a recipe, it changes. At various points it’s about the fan-killer, a slasher, morality, even psychology. On top of that, there’s rarely any down-time. I was absorbed from about the 5-minute mark.

Even if I didn’t already know this was a passion project for Jay Baruchel (This is the End, Lovesick, The Kindness of Strangers), I’d have guessed. When a talented creator really works from the heart, it’s woven into every moment, and Baruchel is insanely talented.

I thought it would feel like something from Criminal Minds (2005-2020) or Castle (2009-2016), but by the end of it I felt the message reminded me more of Se7en (1995). I can’t really get into it without spoilers, so I’ll just say that I think people will understand once they’ve seen it.

Bottom-line, I really liked Random Acts of Violence. I think everyone involved pulled it off spectacularly. It wasn’t perfect, but I can absolutely see it becoming a cult favorite.

Cat’s Point of View:
The first word that comes to mind when I think back over my experience with Random Acts of Violence is: intense. I could easily follow that up with brutal and even trope-smashing.

I’ve seen a lot of slasher movies. This one took the genre in an unexpected and new direction. I’m probably going to need to watch something lighthearted and fluffy before I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

Jay Baruchel certainly didn’t hold anything back when he penned this macabre tale.

There were only a couple of things about the movie that bugged me. The flashbacks were a bit confusing at first but it didn’t take long to figure out why they were necessary. I did appreciate how they tied in the graphic novel aspect with the story. The other bit that didn’t make sense to me would, unfortunately, include a spoiler.

Plenty was great about the film, though. I loved that the production leaned on tried-and-true practical effects; which were, for the most part, well-executed. (I’m really not trying to pun here!) The cast, for the most part, were also pretty spot-on. I got a kick out of seeing Niamh Wilson (Hemlock Grove, Maps to the Stars, Giant Little Ones) as the assistant, considering she was in several of the Saw (2004) franchise movies.

I found the dynamic between Jesse Williams’ (Lee Daniels' The Butler, They Die by Dawn, Selah and the Spades) and Jordana Brewster’s (Annapolis, American Heist, Lethal Weapon) characters interesting and believable.

I feel that they were a little bonkers for setting upon the path that ultimately led to their demise – but then, in horror movies, the characters rarely make good decisions.

Random Acts of Violence was raw and bloody, laced with profanity, and lived up to its name. If you’re a fan of the slasher genre, I’d say it’s worth the Shudder subscription to check this movie out.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 66%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 33/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.9/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5

Trust the Dice Parental Advisory Rating: R

Movie Trailer: 

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