Slasher Comics

Actor-turned-director Jay Baruchel’s Random Acts of Violence is an ambitious but flawed slasher. An original movie from horror streaming channel SHUDDER, it has surprising amounts of gore and terrifying action. Starring Jordana Brewster, Jay Baruchel, and Jesse Williams, the quick-paced thriller doesn’t reinvent the genre but delivers blood-soaked thrills. Convincing set pieces largely cover for the movie’s weaker elements.

Directed with a mildly pretentious style screaming for attention, the mostly forgettable killer and a few plot holes make Random Acts of Violence disposable fodder for horror fiends. The merciless gore is bolstered by strong practical effects and decent production values for an indie flick. Memorably bloody and visually creative set pieces are the primary highlights. There is more depth and thought put into Random Acts of Violence’sĀ characters than the average slasher. Which is one reason why the movie ultimately disappoints because the central premise has so much potential.

Random Acts of Violence isn’t a perfect slasher though it may well scratch your itch for violent mayhem

Random Acts of Violence is adapted from Jimmy Palmiotti’s graphic novel. The intriguing premise is ripe for a movie. A popular comic book creator’s SLASHERMAN books are hot sellers and he’s struggling for an ending to the mega-selling series. Now the actual serial killer who inspired Todd’s comics in the first place has come out of retirement, upset the comic is ending soon.

Canadian comic book creator Todd Walkley (Jesse Williams) is taking a road trip with his wife Kathy (Jordana Brewster) and his best friend Ezra (Jay Baruchel) through America, looking for creative inspiration finishing up his wildly popular SLASHERMAN comic book series. On the lonely roads of America they will eventually cross paths with the notorious killer who originally inspired SLASHERMAN. The fun road adventure quickly becomes a gruesome nightmare for Todd and friends.

Most only know Jay Baruchel as a young Hollywood actor from comedies like Goon, so this surprisingly dark and grisly tale comes out of left field. Apparently a long-time horror fan, Random Acts of Violence feels like a personal but often brutal deconstruction of slashers. It is made by someone with a clear appreciation of the genre’s traditions and classics, though the movie strains itself adding unique elements into the standard slasher formula.

Plotting and character development are more coherent than your average gorefest. Todd is an excellent protagonist as he realizes the killer he’s been writing about is aware of the comic book. The primary mistake in the screenplay is an underwhelming and largely forgettable killer, always essential in a genre piece like Random Acts of Violence. There’s a nice turn by Jordana Brewster as the supportive wife, returning to horror after many years away.

Random Acts of Violence isn’t a perfect slasher; though it may well scratch the itch most slasher fans have for unrepentant violence and blood. The ending is polarizing and will upset some audiences. I had no problem with how things ended but the final act is rushed on some level.

Video

The Canadian film has a Hollywood pedigree and its excellent production values show up in the razor-sharp 2.38:1 presentation. It definitely has better picture quality than your typical indie horror movie. Derived from the movie’s clean digital intermediate, the 1080P video on Blu-ray reflects excessive color correction and artful lighting choices. The grisly set pieces show off with immense definition and maybe too much detail.

RLJ Entertainment fashions an acceptable transfer and AVC encode despite some minor inconsistencies. Random Acts of Violence runs nearly 81 minutes on a BD-25 with modest bitrates. Minor banding and a little noise are visible in the encode.

The extreme color correction plays with strong green and red shades. Random Acts of Violence’s contrast is affected in several scenes, resulting in limited shadow delineation. Most scenes are sharp with impressive clarity. Close-ups exhibit high-frequency detail with regularity.

Audio

Random Acts of Violence has visceral, powerful 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio. The deep bass and discrete sound design help power Slasherman’s brutal attacks. The action is nicely staged with convincing authority and presence.

Music plays a role in the moody atmosphere, receiving an understated but creepy score. A few quirky songs pop up which have excellent dynamics and separation across the soundstage. Surrounds provide effective directional surprises and immersion.

Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles play in white font, residing partially outside the 2.38:1 scope presentation.

Extras

The indie horror thriller from RLJ Entertainment arrives on Blu-ray with an embossed slipcover and a free 30-day trail to SHUDDER, the horror streaming movie service. It’s a relatively loaded set of special features for a new horror flick, though a commentary from Baruchel would have been nice.

Interview With Director Jay Baruchel (36:19 in HD) ā€“ An extended Zoom interview with director/writer/producer/actor Jay Baruchel discussing his movie. Jay brings up how he grew up a big horror movie fan and always wanted to do something in the genre.

More Than Just A Scary Movie featurette (02:03 in HD) ā€“ Baruchel and other cast members go behind the scenes.

Inside The Making Of An Action Scene featurette (06:00 in HD) ā€“ Footage from the set taken when the killer kidnaps Todd is filmed.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Random Acts of Violence
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Jay Baruchel’s dark and gory slasher deconstruction is ambitious with visceral set pieces.

Sending
User Review
4 (1 vote)

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 36 Random Acts of Violence screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 120,000+ already in our library), 120 exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, subscribe on Patreon.