Random Acts of Violence

Montrealer Jay Baruchel seems to be making the transition from actor to being a filmmaker. Meaning he is acting as well as directing and screenwriting. Random Acts of Violence is his second film as director with his first being Goon: Last of the Enforcers (which he also was the co-writer for). The two films could not be more different. Goon: Last of the Enforcers was what you might expect from Baruchel in that it was silly and crass. Plus featured his beloved sport of hockey. This one is a horror involving a serial killer.

While this is at its core a slasher film there are some ethical issues brought up here. A cutting to the heart of the matter observation about today’s world. How we all seem okay with media and films using horrific things which happen in real life to sell papers (is that even a saying anymore?), get clicks, streams, or butts into theatre seats. Nothing seems off limits anymore. Whether it is Jeffrey Epstein and the young girls he sex trafficked or a doctor for the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team and the girls he sexually assaulted. All is fair game in order to get numbers. Is that okay? Should any story be able to be exploited to make a movie, series or book? What about a comic book? Are writers or directors responsible for the messages in their work? What if someone claims to use it for something terrible? Is the filmmaker then responsible?

Being the author of one of the more popular horror comic books around has made Todd (Jesse Williams – from television’s Grey’s Anatomy) money and some notority. His Slasherman comics have used the crimes committed by a serial killer operating 20 years ago as source material. The killer was never caught, but the murders stopped mysteriously. Now Todd has decided that it is the end of the road for his Slasherman comics and is in the process of writing the last one. Though that is proving more difficult than the previous ones had.

To get his mind in the right place, Todd has decided to travel by car to the area where the murders took place two decades ago with his girlfriend Kathy (Jordana Brewster – Fast & Furious 7, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), who is in the process of writing a book about the victims of the murders which inspired Slasherman, his assistant Aurora (Niamh Wilson – Saw III, Maps to the Stars) and her boyfriend/Todd’s publisher Ezra (Jay Baruchel – from television’s The Moodys). Killing two birds with one roadtrip, Ezra has also lined up some radio interviews and the like for Todd.

Not long into the trip weird things start happening. Even worse is when people start dying. It becomes apparent that the serial killer Slasherman is based upon is back. And he is killing again. Everyone is in danger.

Baruchel should have an interesting film career behind the camera as the guy is a film nut. Along the lines of Tarantino. He knows plenty about films of all kinds. This leads me to believe that the films he will choose to make will be different from the rest.

Obviously by the look and feel of this film Baruchel and his co-screenwriter (and fellow Montrealer) Jesse Chabot (Goon: Last of the Enforcers) are big horror fans. All you have to do to know this is notice (and how could you not) the look, amount of blood and number of heads which go flying.

This film is based upon a comic book called…you guessed…Slasherman by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. It is chock full of stuff in which fans of horror/slasher films, graphic novels, comics and serial killer stuff will get off on. But it is one with a little bit more intelligence that your average slasher film in that it asks those who watch it to question their intake of entertainment. How victims are portrayed in films. How women are portrayed in all forms of media. Ask ourselves if we are letting the media off the hook in how they use peoples’ tragedies to sell their stories.

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