Watch the Trailer for ‘In A Violent Nature’ That Takes Place Through the POV of the Killer

Courtesy of Pierce Derks // IFC Films & Shudder

Ever wonder what a first person slasher video game would look like as a film? Well, the meticulous almost slow burner slasher film, ‘In a Violent Nature’ answers that question. It invokes heavy ‘Friday the 13th’ vibes and we are here for it.

Director talks about the film and his intentions for the audience: 

As a fan of horror who has always had an admiration and fascination for the deliberate and meditative cinema brought to life by filmmakers like Gus Van Sant and Terrence Malick, I was always curious what would happen if a bloody, trope-filled genre movie was filmed with the same approach; In A Violent Nature was the result. While drawing upon the previously mentioned artists, our film also takes inspiration from works such as Alan Clarke’s Elephant, Gerald Kargl’s Angst, and Colin Eggleston’s Long Weekend in its matter-of-fact portrayal of violence within a particular setting.

With regards to the character of Johnny, I was very much indebted to archetypal slashers of films like the Friday the 13th series, The Burning, or My Bloody Valentine, and more. The same is true of his would-be victims, but it was important that their depiction wouldn’t be a commentary on tropes or archetypes, and instead be wielded as tools to tell a familiar story in a different way; and, in turn, use this shorthand to forego retreading the same slasher origin story once again. I wanted to create a world in which we can imagine that this film is actually the fourth or fifth entry in a long-running series.

In a Violent Nature
Courtesy of Pierce Derks // IFC Films & Shudder

From the standpoint of character design, the aim was to have Johnny imbued with elements that would make him feel iconic, mythic, and familiar, as a way to tap into the feeling I got while watching slasher films as a kid – right down to the 4:3 aspect ratio (there was no widescreen in my family’s living room). Therefore, with iconography in mind, the mask definitely received a lot of consideration. I was inspired by the Vejan-Bader Smoke Mask that was used by 19th century firefighters in particular, and we used it as a launching point to make our own version of a smoke helmet that would serve as Johnny’s visage.

I was also not interested in interrogating the psychological interiority of the slasher. I include a brief scene where Johnny’s inner life is hinted at, but he’s not meant to be a character that can be readily understood. The original title of the script was actually “Sleeping Animal” – I see Johnny as an animal – we can draw conclusions as to his motivation, but none of it is certain and his behavior is ultimately akin to a predator defending its territory.

The ambiguities around Johnny play into how I decided to end the film too, with the *mild spoiler alert* homage to the pickup truck savior from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, here driven by Lauren Taylor, who portrayed Vickie in Friday the 13th: Part 2. Since the bulk of the film was capturing a slasher scenario with the commitment of never leaving the killer’s purview, I wanted to see what it would feel like if we continued the film a few beats beyond where these stories usually end and create a moment where the slasher is suddenly no longer in every frame; but, hopefully, his presence is still felt.

Finally, I want to recognize that a lot of the film’s ideas and aesthetic philosophy is a testament to contributions from my collaborators, with a special mention to my producers Shannon Hanmer and Peter Kuplowsky, as well as fellow director Nate Wilson (who served as a 1st AD on the production), who sincerely supported, challenged, and elevated my vision. So many people involved all had a distinct appreciation for these kinds of movies, and the film became a means of us collectively exploring aesthetic and formal corners of this genre.

In a Violent Nature
Courtesy of Pierce Derks // IFC Films & Shudder

Check out the trailer below along with the synopsis.

When a locket is removed from a collapsed fire tower in the woods that entombs the rotting corpse of Johnny, a vengeful spirit spurred on by a horrific 60-year old crime, his body is resurrected and becomes hellbent on retrieving it. The undead golem hones in on the group of vacationing teens responsible for the theft and proceeds to methodically slaughter them one by one in his mission to get it back – along with anyone in his way.

IFC Films Will Release IN A VIOLENT NATURE Exclusively In Theaters May 31st!


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