Probably the last thing I’ll ever watch on the Shudder streaming service (yet you know me, don’t quote me on that), RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE had at least somewhat of an interesting well rounded idea, some awesome gory, disturbing special effects, and a solid ending. Too bad most of the execution leading to said ending was botched to shit by co-writer/director/co-star Jay Baruchel. I don’t get why this project wasn’t handed to someone with better experience. It’s a short (1 hr and 21 minutes) and watchable film, but I don’t have any desire to ever watch it again because the execution of everything wasn’t very memorable. IMDB describes the film with the following: “A pair of comic book writers begin to notice scary similarities between the character they created and horrific real-life events.” The entire film’s message is about the glorification of violence and criticizes how the depiction of it and the glamorization of serial killers in media can often negatively impact an audience when in reality they are just twisted people driven by no logical motives. That message is very unfocused, blurry yet somehow ham-fisted until the film’s last ten minutes. The other hour and ten minutes is filled with underdeveloped and unlikable characters, and some cringe worthy dialogue. Whoever was responsible for all the blood, guts, and glorious practical effects in this movie deserves a raise and better projects to work on, as some of those images were some of the most realistically disturbing I have seen since last year’s Midsommar.
Recognizable faces Jessie Williams, Jordana Brewster, and Jay Baruchel star in this movie and while Jessie Williams does a decent job with his underdeveloped protagonist, unfortunately for Jordana Brewster, who has always been nice on the eyes and always seems like she wants to be in the movies she’s in, her dialogue makes her performance hammy and too unrealistic, and Jay Baruchel is completely wasted here, playing yet another just depiction of himself. I’m sorry, but other than having a great voice for the lead in the How To Train Your Dragon series, Baruchel is not a great actor, and after this, Goon, and Goon 2, he isn’t a very good writer or director either. I would only want to recommend this movie to you if practical effects and some realistic disturbing images and violence are your jam. One guy gets stabbed about thirty times during the movie and it actually showed each and every jab of the knife into his torso and I cringed every time before impact. I’ll even recommend it to you if you want a decent ending with a decent message of the glorification of violence, but other than that, you are better off watching something else on the streaming service, such as Host or Spiral (NOT Saw 9). This movie is based on a graphic novel, but I have a feeling if a complete rewrite of the script were to have happened, maybe a bit longer with more developed and likable characters, and a bigger yet subtle focus on the film’s messages, there could’ve been something great here. I have a feeling though that Baruchel was just out of his league with this one, throwing random shit on the wall just to see what would stick.