Tag Archives: Chris Nash

Woke Up Today and Chose Violence

In a Violent Nature

by Hope Madden

When a filmmaker upends slasher tropes, the result often takes a comedic turn. Scream benefitted simultaneously from the audience’s effortless acceptance of genre staples and Wes Craven’s wicked sense of humor. Likewise, the absolute treasure of a meta-slasher Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon zeroes in on slasher cliches to generate fear and horror, laughter and empathy.

Chris Nash is not doing that.

After years making horror shorts, Nash writes and directs his first feature. Though In a Violent Nature builds its unstated plot on your knowledge of slashers, the filmmaker is not in it for laughs.

In a Violent Nature is unapologetically a slasher. A handful of young adults gathers in a secluded national park to camp. They are vaguely horny, annoying, drunk. One mourns some kind of recent tragedy. The fact that we will never get to know these characters by name seems fitting, since slasher characters are one-dimensional by nature. Why do we return to Crystal Lake year after year, sequel after sequel? It’s not for the campers.

We hear their inane chatter, their campfire stories, their bickering and flirtations, but just barely because we’re at a safe distance. We’re far enough from the fire that they can’t see us. In fact, it isn’t until the third act that we finally find ourselves more than a few feet away from the unstoppable killing machine whose point of view defines our story.

And even then, at the end, how far away could he be?

What Nash does with his retake on the slasher—utterly minimalistic except for the carnage, which is generally inspired—is both a deconstruction and loving ode. This movie loves slashers. It does not mock them, doesn’t wink and nod at what we accept when we watch them. Nor does it add any depth to them.

People watch slashers to see characters you don’t care about meet inventive, bloody death in a beautiful landscape. We watch slashers because death is comeuppance, it is coming no matter what, and it’s coming in the form of a hulking, horrifying mass with a tragic backstory.

The practical fx are glorious. The storytelling is clever in that the story tells you nothing, but Nash’s thoughtful direction is enough. If you don’t like slashers, you won’t like In a Violent Nature. If you sincerely do, though, this film is not to be missed.