Beyond the Slash: Unveiling the Depths of In a Violent Nature

It’s hard to deny that horror cinema is on the rise. Stories told on the short-form and big-screen – some more inventive and genre-defining than others – indicate an undeniable horror renaissance grounded in big ideas and a revolution in the genre. Amid this new wave of horror, In a Violent Nature stands out as an experimental film that focuses on the journey of the antagonist. Here we take a look inside the film’s malevolent and revolutionary world through the eyes of Chris Nash, its director, and the creative forces behind it.

The Genesis of a Horror Paradox: Embracing the Aesthetic Shift

The Influences and Innovations Behind In a Violent Nature

Chris Nash, the director of In a Violent Nature, explained to me an important quality of his film versus breakout films like Friday the 13th (1980). While the film retains the focus on killing, Nash refuses to remain beholden to the slasher past, and aims to make the killer the focus and not the victims. As Nash explains, this is not just a purely aesthetic decision but also a new storytelling dynamic to engage the viewer in, as we begin to watch the killer even as we sense or hear other stories of victims. Nash’s desire to create an experience where we watch the killer while sensing others has helped to redefine what horror films can be.

The Dual Reality of Horror: A Killer's Tale

Navigating Audience Expectations and Narrative Innovation

In this way, Nash expresses many of the risks of alienating audiences by moving away from slasher conventions. He states: In this film, I wanted to create the same sense of danger my audience will feel for the killer. Almost the entire film, when the killer is active, there is no narration, no score. It’s just screaming … If you do that, you’re in uncharted territory. In keeping with that uncharted territory is a dedication to Nash’s vision – that is, the unconventional construction of horror. And with its narrative centred on the killer, its frequent absence of narration and score, In a Violent Nature raises questions for the viewer – how much can one engage with the film? How much empathy can the viewer feel for horror’s vilified characters? Nash is dedicated to artistry and films of horror that both him and his audiences take a risk with.

A Journey of Visual Evolution: From Concept to Screen

The Technical Odyssey of In a Violent Nature

In doing so, Nash revealed the transformatory journey that the film had gone through, how and why it changed from the original vision he conceived through to its finished form. And why a choice was made to reshoot the film from scratch with their newly acquired awareness to truly let the narrative and visual style reach a point of maturity. This is a perfect example of how environmental storytelling takes place in film, something that all modern horror fans are familiar with, but here we also realise what importance this aspect of filmmaking can have when it comes to the framing of the character. Here we see not the end product of a creative endeavour but what it was like in its ever-evolving creative process. It is rare for a filmmaker to reveal all of this.

The Unseen Horrors: Imagining the Criterion Edition

Even speculations of an upcoming Criterion Blu-ray release – complete with the promise of additional original footage and behind-the-scenes materials – invite fans to eventually become part of this narrative fragment. Imagining new paths leads us to anticipate engaging with the film in a way we never could have otherwise. The speculation of all of In a Violent Nature’s possible ‘truths’ is an intriguing expansion of the film’s legacy among horror movie fans.

The Art of Death: Creativity in Horror Cinema

Crafting Death as a Work of Art

Because Nash came from a detail-oriented prosthetics background (he also served as the film’s co-production designer), and had a synergistic working relationship with the film’s make-up prosthetics lead, Steve Costanza, the sequence of increasingly outlandish and unique death scenes became a hallmark of the movie, achieved by pushing the boundaries of what had been done before. And so, out of a desire to expand the possible ways that characters on screen can be killed – a desire to innovate upon tropes and mechanisms that had become painfully overused by genre practitioners – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) was able to offer a level of realism and originality to the horror experience. Nash’s prescience of the market for genre hounds speaks to an artistic motivation: if I’m going to work in a genre whose boundaries have been definitively mapped, then beckon me to make sure it’s done with a uniquely innovative eye.

Envisioning a Sequel: The Future of In a Violent Nature

As it has set the stage for a series of paperback sequels, Nash reflects on ways that the film’s experimental legacy could continue: speculative talk about the future is left open for the possibilities of further genre conventions that could be subverted and new aesthetic contexts that could be subsequently discovered. The goals Nash names for his film’s sequels suggest that In a Violent Nature could continue to foreshadow an innovative momentum in horror cinema’s ongoing production of material difference.

Exploring the Depth of BLU

Not only does the word ‘blu’ refer to home cinema technology such as Blu-ray, which has revolutionised the way films are made and consumed at home, but it encompasses the way that these advances in technology can allow much deeper, clearer storytelling. The ‘blu’ in In a Violent Nature refers to the way that high-definition visual quality is married with the deeper storytelling elements that Nash brings to this project. As this essay series continues to explore horror, the theme of ‘blu’ brings together the technological and the artistic elements of modern filmmaking.

In a Violent Nature is a testament to the transformative nature of horror cinema. If Nash didn’t become a pariah, it’s because, with In a Violent Nature, he unleashed on the world a fully articulated vision for the future of horror cinema, where the lines between predator and prey are blurred, and where audiences are invited to step into the shoes of the creature and experience the fear of being hunted themselves. The film has continued to play in theatres around the world. It emerges today in a context where there’s a possibility of sequels and explorations of the mythos it opens up. With In a Violent Nature, Nash took his cues from a nameless predator that spoke to him in the deep for decades. That predator’s voice was the very same voice that reached out to to me on the freeway, as I negotiated my way out of the city in the dead of night. The word she said to me was ‘blu’.

Jun 02, 2024
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