Based on the graphic novel, Random Acts of Violence looks to create a life-imitates-art scenario steeped in an awareness of slasher conventions.
While Jay Baruchel might be better known for his presence in Judd Apatow’s short-lived TV series Undeclared and a supporting player in comedies like Knocked Up and This is the End, it also bears noting that he worked with body-horror maestro David Cronenberg on Cosmopolis, too. Now, he’s going full-bore into the genre by starring in and directing the comic-book adaptation, Random Acts of Violence.
If the trailer is any indication, Random Acts of Violence will live up to its name, but the question of whether it will bring anything new to the meta-horror landscape is up in the air. For every New Nightmare or Cabin in the Woods, there are countless others that simply indulge the cliches they think they’re subverting.
(Full disclosure: I haven’t read the Justin Gray/Jimmy Palmiotti graphic novel on which this is based.)
While the trailer for Random Acts of Violence begins with some humor in its “Weird America” conceit – blocked comics artist (Jesse Williams) goes on a road trip with his wife (Jordana Brewster), and associates (Niamh Wilson and Baruchel) to find inspiration – things quickly go dark.
The emphasis on neon lighting, flash-cuts of screaming victims, and a killer in a welder’s mask brings to mind films like The Collector and 31, which, per their extreme scenarios, pushed the parameters of cinematic carnage (within the confines of R-ratings, at least). Some of the brief reveals of victims are appropriately grotesque in a baroque sort of way (including what looks like a tableaux of three bodies sewn together).
While the trailer’s opening images establish a literal lineup of possible red herrings looking to meet their creative icon, one hopes the depiction of wild-eyed fans set against parallels between violence in the arts and violence in the real world are, um, “fleshed out” in the movie proper. The popular misconception of horror creators and fans is that they’re drooling psychopaths who get off on bloodshed, so I’ll be interested to see how Random Acts of Violence addresses that.
But in the end, I just hope it’s a good movie. Definitely looking forward to it.
Random Acts of Violence will be available on Shudder on Aug. 20. In theaters and on-demand in Canada on July 31.
What did you think of the Random Acts of Violence trailer? Let us know if this movie makes your must-see list in the comments.