In a Violent Nature: Is the Story Inspired By Reality?

A revision of gory slasher films, the horror feature ‘In a Violent Nature’ takes a trek through the Ontario wilderness from the perspective of a serial killer targeting a young group of teenagers. The film adopts a measured pace centered around its terrifying protagonist, who forges through the woods in silence. The gruesome and brutal violence meted out by this unknown man serves as a fixation in the Chris Nash directorial that simultaneously deconstructs and doubles down on its unique premise.

To accomplish this, the filmmaker had to embody the dread present within his screenplay through his direction. The emphasis is put on slow, methodical shots that leave you cold and haunted by their long deliberation on the subject matter. While some may hone in on this, the intriguing aspect of the film is its unique promise to deliver a horror film told through the eyes of a serial killer. In a game of script reversal that puts you in the shoes of a grisly villain, ‘In a Violent Nature’ veers away from stereotypical stories with a solid script that makes one question whether it is based on a true event.

In a Violent Nature Employs a Fictional Tale Aiming to Reinvent the Slasher Genre

‘In a Violent Nature’ features several hallmarks of the slasher genre – a masked villain with a penchant for brutal kills, the unforgiving nature of the woods he’s trekking through, and a group of teens who turn into unwitting victims. Director Chris Nash, who also serves as the writer, pushed the dynamics of his film to serve as an extension of those that have come before. He referenced classical slashers like the 1980 Sean S. Cunningham film ‘Friday the 13th‘ as having given him the necessary framework to build upon. As far as he was concerned, the idea wasn’t about reinventing the wheel as much as it was about letting the film be an offshoot of what already existed.

“It’s an offspring of it,” he said. “I would say (Friday the 13th) is intrinsic to the existence of this film because it built the framework. We’re not reinventing the wheel, but we are looking at the wheel from a different side.” In order to achieve this, horror tropes were an integral part of setting up the familiarity, the writer-director revealed. “I think tropes are great, but they’re so often used in the wrong way. What they definitely did for us was create a shorthand for us to deliver information to an audience, where we don’t have to delve deep into any kind of backstory.”

By employing a familiar setup, ‘In a Violent Nature’ allows the audience to feel like they’re on well-trodden ground while distinguishing itself through its unique aspects. For instance, the film takes a voyeuristic approach to its storytelling. While always dominating the screen, the masked killer speaks only when necessary, mirroring the film’s entirely non-existent musical score. The director encouraged a hybrid approach, mixing and matching various tones and pacing, all set in a quiet, overbearing environment dripping with malice.

Following the silent villain through the woods is almost a meditative experience in the bloody thriller. With its lack of music, stripped-away dialogue sequences, and long takes featuring the central character trudging through the wild, its presence can get stifling. “I love the vibe of following a character,” Nash told Variety. “Sitting back and having somebody hold your hand through this story and just feeling a gentle breeze of the film pass by you. I kept thinking of slashers — what kind of direction could we go from there? We’re following a character, not even commenting on what’s happening or what they’re doing, we’re just on this ride.”

The visual language of the film, alongside its deliberate pacing, was inspired by the works of Terrence Malick and Gus Van Sant. Nash used their slow, deliberate storytelling techniques as a way to inform his own during the film’s shooting. In particular, though, the director honed in on Gus Van Sant’s death trilogy of films – ‘Gerry (2002),’ ‘Elephant (2003),’ and ‘Last Days (2005),’ calling them slower, methodical, and with an obsession to follow characters through a scene. He wanted a similar approach and execution when working on ‘In a Violent Nature.’ Additionally, Nash admitted to trying to emulate the 2007 film ‘No Country for Old Men’ in every movie he’s made, including this one.

Noticing a rise in the slow cinema movement developing within the horror genre, the director places his film as the latest among those that have set a deliberate pace and tone within the genre. While not always dripping with jumpscares to keep the audience reeling at the edge of their seats, the critically acclaimed movie reinvents tried and tested methods within a horror industry that has become wedded to its principles. Sometimes, it’s good to break those rules, and Chris Nash thrives on it in ‘In a Violent Nature.’

Read more: In a Violent Nature (2024): All Locations Where the Movie Was Filmed