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Random Acts of Violence (2019) Review

I've been a movie enthusiast my whole life and been writing movie reviews for over 156 years.

Is she wearing a paper crown?

Is she wearing a paper crown?

MPAA Rating

Not Rated

Running Time

80 minutes

Director

Jay Baruchel

Writers

Jay Baruchel and Jesse Chabot

It’s been 3 hours since the end credits rolled for the Jay Baruchel directed Random Acts of Violence and it’s only now I’ve just started writing the review.

No. It’s because Jay Baruchel, the goofy Canadian guy from This is The End directed a violent horror movie, which means that with the exception of Craig Robinson, all the principal cast members of This is The End (James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel) have directed major motion pictures, or in the case of Danny MacBride, episodes of prestige cable television.

I have never been more afraid of anything in my life, and this is in the midst of a pandemic.

Because the prophecy is one step closer to coming true and we are one step closer to the world ending as foreseen by the book of Mortimer.

It’s true.

For those of you that don’t know. The book of Mortimer states that if the principal name stars of 2013’s This is The End direct major motion pictures or at the very least episodes of prestige cable shows, then the world will end. For reals.

I didn’t think anything of it when Seth Rogen directed This is the End and then The Interview. I started to get a little worried when James Franco directed The Disaster Artist.

When Jonah Hill wrote and directed Mid 90s then I started building a bunker, washing my hands with soap and water and began socially distancing myself from others.

Then Danny MacBride directed random episodes of HBO shows I’ve never seen.

And now Jay Baruchel has directed Random Acts of Violence and the Goon sequel

Yeah, I never saw it either.

But 5 of the 6 principals of This is The End have directed.

If Craig Robinson directs anything, then the world will endeth.

That’s why the we’re still around.

I blame Jonah Hill and Danny MacBride.

I will now proceed to do this Random Acts of Violence review with a heavy heart, knowing it could possibly be my last.

Craig Robinson, for the sake of the planet and the people on it, please don’t direct anything.

The world is depending on you…

Random Act of Synopsizing

Random Acts of Violence begins in Toronto with comic book creator Todd Walkley (Jesse Williams- Grey’s Anatomy, which is still on apparently) struggling with the ending of his cult comic Slasherman.

Slasherman has been the number one best-selling R-rated comic book for years, and now Todd is finally ending its run, except he can’t figure out how to close it.

His girlfriend Kathy (Jordana Brewster- those Fast and Furious movies, Fun Fact- on the FF set she’s the only one could translate whatever Vin Diesel was saying into coherent English) is confident he’ll figure something out because he always has. She’s arranged a road trip to the States to promote Slasherman while she begins writing a book about Slasherman’s victims.

Rewind- Todd’s Slasherman comic was based on the real-life I-90 killer. From 1987 to 1991 he took the lives of 6 victims along the stretch of I-90 while wearing a welder’s helmet. He was never caught and hasn’t killed since.

Slasher-swag- Slasherman Cereal- Pour milk on it and it turns red and gooey after a couple of minutes.

Kathy is writing a book about Slasherman’s victims since so little has been said about them while Slasherman himself has been lionized, some say by Todd himself.

Todd and Kathy hope this road trip will provide the stimulation he needs to put Slasherman behind him forever.

Not the best lighting for a convenience store.

Not the best lighting for a convenience store.

Tootling along for the ride are Todd’s manager/publicist Ezra (Jay Baruchel- director, and bringer of the Apocalypse) and assistant/probable victim Aurora (Niamh Wilson- her nameh, um, name is pronounced how it’s spelled).

They will travel across the states and end with a convention in New York. Why they don’t just fly is anyone’s guess.

Slasher-Swag- The Slasherman App- When you’re on I-90 your phone will alert you when you’re near one of the murder sites or when someone is going to kill you in some gory fashion.

Todd meets fans and critics of Slasherman alike. He’s at unease with some of the people he’s met on the trip. But no ending has come to him, no inspiration.

Someone, it seems, has been inspired by Slasherman as gruesome murders have taken place recently that mirror those within the pages of Slasherman. This killer (who also wears a welder’s helmet, which seems cumbersome while you’re trying to kill someone. I know you’re trying to hide you’re identity, but you couldn’t pick something less unwieldy) has intimate knowledge of the Slasherman comics and soon Todd will know that these are not random acts of violence.

There's a seat saved.

There's a seat saved.

What Works With Random Acts of Violence

  • The convenience store- the interior is actually the most frightening part of the movie. You can get HPV just by looking at it. What exactly are on those shelves? Don’t tell me.
  • As a director, Jay Baruchel skillfully executes the kills in a way that is both graphic and intense while never feeling exploitative. A reveal on a park bench brought a gasp from the audience…of just me.

What Doesn’t Work With Random Acts of Violence

  • Though Baruchel has a handle on the violence, dialogue-heavy scenes rely way too much on close-ups. We don’t need to see up everyone’s nostrils in every shot.
  • The story (written by Baruchel and Jesse Cabot) meanders into the predictable too often. You can see twists coming from relatively far out and there’s nothing Random says about serial killers that hasn’t been said before. That’s not to say it isn’t interesting, but some surprise would have elevated this from decent to exceptionally good.
It must be Welds-day.

It must be Welds-day.

Overall

You want staged acts of violence, staged acts of violence you will get. Random Acts of Violence will please those into violence and gore, and though no true scares abound, it’s still worth a watch if you’ve got nothing else to do. Mildly recommended.

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