31 Days of Halloween 2016 #23 – There’s a lot of running in Aggression Scale (2012)

aggress1There’s something gritty and real about The Aggression Scale (2012), which makes it a good indie movie.  I’ve got a couple indie movies on the Halloween countdown this year and many people probably haven’t seen them.  There’s a few worth finding though, like The Aggression Scale, mostly because of the intense chase scenes and some of the performances.  

The chase scenes aren’t really your traditional chase scenes, like you might find in Bullitt or Indiana Jones, because most of them end in blood or brutal violence.  There’s really no getting around that in this movie.  

There’s a sense of righteousness in the criminals, and many of them are center stage, much like in Frenzy.  They are trying to get their money back from some other jerks so they can disappear. Unfortunately, the jerks happen to be parents.  There’s plenty of social drama thrown in there, like teen angst and remarriage troubles.  Mainly, that’s just a backdrop to the threat of the hitmen, but it takes up most of the beginning of the movie.  It’s really the weakest part.  I just wanted the killers to arrive and get on with it already.

aggress3Both the younger actors do well in their roles, and they don’t look awkward on screen.  You can tell they’re really trying to do their best.  You’ve got to appreciate that.  Ryan Hartwig plays Owen, the young kid with an angst problem and he’s got some pretty clever moments where he has to think fast and act to save himself.  Fabianne Therese plays his sister and she’s got a more prominent role where she has to show a lot of emotion, which I think she accomplishes pretty well.

This is a Steven C. Miller film, the indie champion who made Silent Night and Under the Bed.  People probably haven’t heard of those movie either, but The Aggression Scale is definitely his best film to date.  Miller deserves a bigger platform and I have no doubt that it’s going to happen for him at some point.  He seems to know how to shoot action.  

Overall, this is a good film.  It seems to have a problem with pacing though, as it jumps from a ten minute action scene to a family scene where they’re moving to the country.  It’s just a bit off, but necessary I guess if we’re going to learn anything about the characters.  This movie really has the same problem Hitchcock’s Frenzy does, in that you’re rooting for the criminals.  Fortunately, it turns toward the kids at some point, and Owen imitates Rambo, MacGyver, and Steven Segal to get the job done.  Smart kid.  I think the action really works, but it’s hardly a perfect film.  It could use a couple more scenes of development I think, though the surprises about Owen work for the most part, in that regard.  I was surprised too, because I thought I’d hate this movie.  Indie films are surprising me this year.



31 Days of Halloween 2016
31. Young Frankenstein (1974) 
30. Jason X (2001)
29. Cloverfield (2008) 
28. The Monster Squad (1987) 
27. Bad Moon (1996) 
26. The Haunting (1963) 
25. Splinter (2008)
24. Frenzy (1972)
23. Aggression Scale (2012) – This post
22. The Exorcist III
21. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963)
20. Silver Bullet (1985)
19. Joy Ride (2001)
18. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
17. The Funhouse (1981) by Tobe Hooper
16. Videodrome (1983)
15. Re-Animator (1985)
14. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
13. Cube (1997)
12. Evil Dead
11. Day of the Dead (1985)
10. Tales of Halloween (2015)
9. They Live (1988)
8. The Innocents (1961)
7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
6. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
5. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)
4. Hatchet (2006)
3. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
2. Halloween II
1. Silence of the Lambs