As is sadly all too often the case with films like this, here we have an independently minded film, with plenty of good ideas, fatally hamstrung by the director and screen-writer’s inability to keep it on track and coherent. Drummed up as bikers vs aliens (which sounded like a lot of fun) what we have instead is a mish-mash of divergent ideas, inadequately drawn together. The idea of the invading aliens isolating the bikers by disabling their cars and making the house electrics go all blinky with some sort of interfering device is not bad, nor is one of the girls being used as a host for the Queen of the alien race. At one point we see photos on the wall of the home of a recluse, showing various locals who disappeared in the 1950’s and they are the very same people now terrorising the biker gag. That’s great, but we are never told what is happening, why they are here, what they want, why they have used these bodies, what they have been doing for the last few decades, why their queen needs a host. I’m all for avoiding chunky, clunky exposition, but for pity’s sake, at least find some way of letting us know what is supposed to be going on.
When the blood-soaked violence does erupt, it is suitably graphic and unpleasant. The aliens (assuming this to be the case) are nasty, cackling, blood-thirsty little blighters, but since we don’t know what they are doing and we only see them in human form, the siege plays out like any other torture-porn home invasion, with nothing on display that could elevate it out of that rut. The denouement tries to suggest that something grander and less localised is happening, but it is yet again inadequately explained. This is not subtle and intelligent, it is under-developed, half-baked stuff, which appears to not have been properly thought through, like a few good ideas that came to someone who was unable to coalesce them into a coherent whole.
In search of something more positive to say, the acting is good enough for the most part, with most of the unfamiliar cast doing their bit. As alluded to earlier, the aliens are hysterical (shrieky, not hilarious) but utterly unfleshed out, reduced to one-dimensional antagonists, but the protagonists have a little more meat on their bones. This is for the most part disposable exploitation stuff, but it is at least competently directed, with a good eye for angles, camera set-ups and pacing. It doesn’t hang about, which is essential as the relentlessly confusing and nasty tone quickly causes the casual viewer to disengage.
Clearly this is not my sort of thing, but I struggle to see whose sort of thing it would be. Gore hounds and torture porn fans are likely to find the violence too tame and the sci-fi elements too baffling or uninteresting, sci-fi fans will, like me, be frustrated at the plentiful good ideas squandered by a lack of narrative cohesion, everyone else is likely to just switch off. There are undoubtedly worse films out there, but for The Violent Kind to be so bad and so nasty at the same time is unforgivable. The fact that directors Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores call themselves The Butcher Brothers does not help. Avoid.