Random Acts of Violence (2020)

A comic book writer who took inspiration for his work from a serial killer and now someone is reproducing the gruesome murders from his work. As things go from bad to worse, the writer is pulled deeper into the situation.

Directed by Jay Baruchel from a script he co-wrote with Jesse Chabot based on comics by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, the film has some great ideas and works well with the turn around of a killer being inspired by a comic book that was inspired by a killer. The full circle aspect is something that has been seen once or twice, but it works here so there is no problem here. The film clearly has some influences from other films and media, which is to be expected. Now, these may not be the same influences, but it does remind of Evil Words (Sur Le Seuil) where kills come from the mind of a writer (in a much different way of course) and the serial killer and comic books aspects remind a touch of the Video Nasty comics, the Satanic Panic, and a few others in how art is blamed for the inspiration of the killer. Here, the film is based on a comic series (that is not familiar to this reviewer) and brings it to the screen in a way that works in making a good movie. Not knowing the source material, it’s impossible to tell how close to it the film is.

The lead and writer of the comic books Todd is played by Jesse Williams who takes the part where it needs to go and gives it depth when it’s needed. Playing his agent and friend Ezra is Jay Baruchel who is rather likeable in his unlikable part. The one who really comes off as the best of the bunch is Jordana Brewster as Kathy, an author and Todd’s girlfriend who is researching the killer that inspired the comic books. She gives the best performance of the bunch and really gives Kathy humanity. It’s quite nice to see Brewster come back to horror once again. Rounding out the main cast is Niamh Wilson as Aurora, Todd’s supportive assistant with dreams of making it herself. Her performance works well as keeps her in mind during even scenes where she is not.

One of the best parts of this film is the cinematography by Karim Hussein. The way he frames and works with lights and colors is something that can elevate horror films of any types and works even better when the material is already good. Here, his work is stellar as usual and gives the film that extra layer of attraction. The images here work great and add to the story in a way that some cinematographers just don’t understand.

Random Acts of Violence is an entertaining and violent film where the characters have a real connection and thus are attached to each other which makes watching them see each other get hurt much more effective. The film looks fantastic and has a great lead cast with Jordana Brewster as the shining star here and it’s definitely fun to watch her work in horror again.