‘In a Violent Nature’ (2024) Review: A Quiet Chase in the Woods

Nuha Hassan
4 min readMay 31, 2024

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Ry Barrett as Johnny. Image courtesy of IFC Films/Shudder.

Chris Nash’s In a Violent Nature is a different kind of slasher. The film follows an undead serial killer (Ry Barrett), who relentlessly follows a group of young adults searching for a locket. What’s unique about this slasher is that it is shot from the perspective of the undead corpse. But the one lesson you can take from this film is never, ever take objects from a remote area. Otherwise, the haunting spirit of an undead corpse will haunt you and your friends until they’re all dead.

In a Violent Nature opens with a shot of a locket hanging from a rusted pipe near a collapsed fire tower in the middle of the woods. A group of young adults walk through that path when they pick the locket up and wander off. Seconds later, the ground stirs and a hand bursts through, revealing the undead corpse named Johnny (Barrett), who is hunting the people who stole the locket from its rightful place. He wanders in the daylight to murder poachers and eventually, at night, stumbles into the group sitting near their cabin. The group shares a scary story of the ‘White Pine Massacre,’ a legend about a local store owner’s mentally unstable son’s death near a collapsed fire tower. In order to retrieve the locket, Johnny stalks the group individually and slaughters them in brutal manners.

Nash’s directorial debut features a uniquely gory and horrifying view of a serial killer methodically killing his victims. The kills are creative, gruesome and disturbing to digest. The first half of the film revolves around Johnny’s acute observation of the group, as he stalks them day and night.

If you’ve ever wondered what the serial killers in slasher movies do in between the main characters wondering where their friends are, Johnny is here to take you on a deliciously gruesome ride. He walks around the woods at his own pace. He butchers them, picks up the bodies, drags them, and stashes them in properties around the area. It’s an unsettling narrative but Nash never lets the serial killer out of sight.

Ry Barrett as Johnny. Image courtesy of IFC Films/Shudder.

If the film’s first half is quiet and sombre, the second half is where it gets gory. Johnny quietly pursues his victims in brutal ways. In one of the best scenes — quite possibly the most disgusting — he kills a girl using a giant hook and slaughters her gruesomely. These scenes are callbacks of the horror movies of the 80s, which they used special effects to create gnarly, bloody scenes.

The downside of a film written from the perspective of an undead corpse is the unreliability of Johnny’s backstory. The only thing about the character is that if the locket is removed, he turns into a vengeful spirit. He will rest if it is returned to the rightful place. Since the entire film is shot from the serial killer’s perspective, it would have been interesting to expand this element to understand Johnny’s backstory.

If you’ve been a fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, In a Violent Nature might be the film for you. But the twist is that it will be written from the serial killer’s perspective, even though his backstory is a mystery. A quiet, violent slasher film which prefers to bring a bit of the unknown into the story removes the uniqueness of the serial killers from the previous horror films. What makes slashers so successful is due to the character’s backstory.

In the case of In a Violent Nature, that element is missing. It’s a one-of-a-kind slasher, that’s true, but if the main character’s backstory were expanded it would have made Johnny the next slasher icon in this subgenre.

Here are some reading materials to learn about the genocide, ethnic cleansing and illegal occupation in Palestine:

Decolonise Palestine

Books about Palestine on Verso Books

Books about Palestine on Haymarket Books

The Free Palestine Library

More reading materials on Palestine

Operation Olive Branch is another useful resource to help families evacuate to Egypt and buy medicine and food by donating directly to their GoFundMe links.

You can also join the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement, a Palestinian-led movement as a form of resistance to Israeli occupation:

Read about Readers for Accountability on their website.

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