Eric Spudic had been long involved in the underground independent movie scene prior to this, his directorial debut. Killers by Nature is an interesting little movie, taking a slightly different spin on the revenge movie formula. The story tells of two disaffected young men, Cory Buckner (Jason Contini) and Jeffrey Mordrid (Eric Spudic), who get together some time after leaving High School for a drink and a chat. The conversation soon turns to the subject of discussing those people who had tormented them in school. It's not long before talk becomes a reality and they have compiled a 'hit list' of those they wish to wreak vengeance upon - and they begin a killing spree.
The story doesn't really have any more substance to it than that, but it doesn't really need to. This is, after all, classic exploitation territory - its primary aim being to present the viewer with shocking imagery and gratuitous violence set within a revenge story framework. For the most part, Spudic achieves what he sets out to do, the main problem, however, is that the movie never really pushes the boundaries. The whole thing is rather tame and limp and never really reaches the controversial heights it aspires to. The revenge sequences are just not nasty enough to pack the required punch. As a viewer, you just can't help thinking that if you had someone you hated at your mercy, that you would really make them suffer, having got as far as invading their home and making them helpless before you. This pair of killers seem far too kind and merciful than what is really required by the subject matter.
Saying all that, Spudic directs with a sure hand and the performances are reasonably good from all the actors involved, but nothing special. As I say, though, I just didn't find it hard-hitting enough and, considering the material, would have expected something far more controversial. I'd like to be more positive, but unfortunately I just found the whole film severely lacking. If you're going to make an exploitation revenge movie, then pull out all the stops and do so - don't shy away from the controversial elements. That's what makes exploitation so much fun! Killers by Nature just comes across as far too amateurish than it needed to be, if I'm brutally honest, and ends up looking like a failed movie student project.
The DVD is released by Sub Rosa Studios and the film is presented in fullscreen, as intended (it's a shot-on-video affair), and looks about as good as you would expect. The audio is a basic stereo track which works adequately enough - though some of the dialogue is poorly recorded and is sometimes drowned out by the metal soundtrack music, which smacks of amateurism. There's a smattering of extras, but nothing to write home about. What you get are a commentary from the director, a couple of drinking games, a stills gallery, 2 bonus videos and some trailers.
To sum up - those involved in the film seem to be having plenty of fun, but it's not all that entertaining to watch. An interesting premise that is sadly wasted. What I will say, though, is that Spudic shows a lot of promise as a director - and my advice would be to stay behind the camera, as this is obviously where his talent lies. I truly hope that he carves himself a successful career as a director, as I think he has a lot of potential in this field.
Review by C J Otter
|Released by Sub Rosa Studios|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|