DVD Review: The Aggression Scale
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday September 3rd, 2012.
The Aggression Scale – this is what would have occurred if Kevin McCallister had been mentored by John Rambo. Forget the excellent, cutesy (but slightly disconcerting for kids) approach from Home Alone, the John Hughes scribed film; this is more like Marcus Dunstan’s The Collector or even the fine Spanish thriller Secuestrados.
Reg Bellavance (Ray Wise), a notorious crime boss is released on bail for 48 hours after being charged with murder. Planning to skip the country to evade prison, he tasks his henchmen headed by Lloyd (Dana Ashbrook) with the responsibility of finding the stash of cash stolen from him by various people. Following their compiled list of the guilty parties and leaving a trail of death and destruction, they find their way to the new home of Bill (Boyd Kestner) & Maggie (Lisa Rotondi) with their kids Lauren (Fabianne Therese) and Owen (Ryan Hartwig). Accused of being thieves, will the family survive the onslaught from these intimidating strangers or have Lloyd and his men bitten off more than they can chew?
Steven C. Miller’s solid direction manages strong performances from the cast and along with Ben Powell’s script, has fashioned a thriller that is a lot better than expected; especially for a straight-to-DVD release.
Ryan Hartwig who does not utter a word throughout the film delivers a disturbingly strong and uneasy performance as the violent anti-hero Owen. Fabianne Therese does well as Lauren who is utilised well by Miller as she could have so easily been demoted to the ‘hysteric eye candy’ role. The bad guys including Dana Ashbrook and Derek Mears give fairly assured performances as they are supposed to represent ordinary people just doing a ‘job’ whilst being a damn sight more menacing than the idiotic pairing of Harry and Marv (from Home Alone).
The main factor that lets this movie down is it predictability and from the off The Aggression Scale is only heading down one route. Again however, its testament to Miller’s direction and the inventive ways of causing injuries and death to the relevant parties that keeps the film interesting.
The Aggression Scale will notably be compared to Home Alone and Rambo: First Blood along with various other movies in the home invasion and action genres (as mentioned above) and that is not a bad thing. It delivers a fair amount of gruesome violence and in a perverse, disquieting type of way it’s very enjoyable.
The Aggression Scale is one of the better indie flicks that have been released over the last few months. In fact it’s an improvement on many of the ‘bigger studio’ movies and is definitely worth a look and could possibly garner a cult following over the years… but that, of course, remains to be seen.
FMV Rating ***