Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

The Violent Kind | Shuttle

By Steve Anderson
February 1st , 2012

The Violent KindThe Violent Kind
**
DVD
Directed by Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores
Written by Phil Flores
Starring Cory Knauf, Taylor Colle, Bret Roberts, Tiffany Shepis
R
2010

I've been looking forward to tackling The Violent Kind for some time now, being as it has one of my personal favorite actors in it, the one and only Tiffany Shepis. But I quickly had cause for concern. How would the end turn out? Well, that's what you came for.

The Violent Kind follows a group of bikers out in Oakland, California, who have taken their girlfriends and are heading out to a farmhouse in the middle of the woods of Northern California. And yes, Norcal, as it's called sometimes, is actually pretty heavy with woods. If you don't think that's likely, consider Oregon, and how close the two are. But quirks of local flora aside, the night in the woods turns sinister when, for no clear reason, a group of what looks like 1950s rockabillies shows up to seize what's currently growing inside one of the bikers' girlfriends. Oh, and did I mention that she's looking suddenly rather...well...possessed?

It's a nifty idea, sure enough, but my primary concern was that this sucker has like four writer credits on the IMDB. It always worries me when a movie has more than two writers--a bit of "too many cooks" if you take my meaning--so this was a bit disturbing.

The early going is pretty interesting, as you get kind of a Sons of Anarchy sort of vibe, in which hard men meet much harder demon-types and get an eyeful of true evil, then spend the rest of the movie reacting accordingly. If anything can be said about this one it's that it's a little bit of a slow starter, but still, it's got a nifty concept running under it, and that gives it a lot of extra force.

It's a little--make that a lot-- strange, and the plot has a disturbing tendency to meander through a lot of bizarre demonic imagery and possessions jumping from body to body. Still though, it is worth watching, if for no other reason than to see a movie try something a bit different for a change. It's not the best thing I've seen lately, and frankly, many of the chances they take really don't pan out, but it took them. It took chances, and though they didn't work, it's still a lot better than nothing.

The ending is a little on the disturbing side, and leaves a couple nice sized plot holes but at the same time really adds to the foreboding. I'm not a hundred percent sure just what the hell they were talking about, but I'm reasonably confident that the news is not good.

The special features include a making of featurette, deleted scenes, and a trailer for The Violent Kind.

All in all, The Violent Kind is something of a mixed bag, with a lot of strange stuff intermingled with some very interesting ideas, some of which actually worked out a whole lot better than others. It's not particularly bad, even if it's not particularly good, but either way, it will be worth your time to watch.

ShuttleShuttle
**
DVD
Directed by Edward Anderson
Written by Edward Anderson
Starring Tony Curran, Payton List, Cameron Goodman
R
107 mins
2008

Shuttle is one of those movies that I never actually got around to seeing but was always sort of interested in checking out. Why? Because it's a Magnolia release, for one, and they've done pretty well in the past. And two, it's a clever idea. But will this one put out quality greater than the sum of its parts? Or will it prove substantially less?

Shuttle follows a couple of friends who've just returned from a trip to Mexico back to Los Angeles. And when they hop a shuttle bus to head downtown, they find out they're in a whole lot more trouble than they would have expected. The driver decides to take some back roads to avoid a traffic jam, but this detour will prove very troublesome for the young ladies...not to mention everyone else on the shuttle.

See what I mean? You'd expect the problems to happen while they're down in Mexico. Kidnappings, ransoms, assorted drug cartel goings-on, any one of these--or any combination of two or more--might well play in and in fact have during a variety of previous horror titles (Turistas, And Soon The Darkness, and so on down the line), but the last place you expect to have problems is on the shuttle bus home from the airport.

It has a surprisingly clever moral, too, about a bargain that's too good to be true. Everything else is a smidge incoherent, especially considering the crew on the bus has more than a few opportunities to get out of their troubles. The whole thing has an air of the unlikely to it that makes things very difficult to relate to, and thus, very difficult to enjoy.

However, I do have to give them credit for the last half, because there are some really impressive twists in here. And despite the fact that the whole thing is built on a platform of sketchy logic and sheer incongruity, Shuttle does manage to do a pretty decent job of things.

The ending, meanwhile, is actually pretty hard to watch, but still manages to at least end things nicely. That's better than a lot of movies can do, but it's so much of a downer that it's rather tough to get into.

The special features, meanwhile, include Spanish subtitles, audio options, a behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes, a trailer for Shuttle (along with several before the film starts that aren't accessible from the menu), and a set of casting sessions footage bits detailing the casting process.

All in all, Shuttle is at least a fairly good movie, but is a pretty big downer built on more than a few logical impossibilities and plot holes that isn't exactly what you'd call a pleasant experience. Still though, if you don't mind feeling bad while watching a movie, you could do substantially worse.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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