THE RETALIATORS is a completely gratuitous blood-fest of gore and violence. And I absolutely adored it.
THE RETALIATORS tells the story of a handsome young Preacher and 100% Good Dad, whose eldest daughter is horribly murdered. The Preacher falls apart, and seems destined to destroy himself. Until the cop investigating the murder offers him the chance to take revenge on his daughter’s killer.
Honestly the plot is just a very basic scaffold to the real brilliance of THE RETALIATORS. And that is the special effects makeup. The film is about murder, torture, and revenge, and it commits hard.
The film is a delight for fans of graphic horror. You can see the influence of so many horror genres in THE RETALIATORS. The 80’s suburban slasher; classic Romero zombies; 2000’s Hostel/Saw splatter gore-no; grindhouse; torturous revenge flick.
It’s a hell of a ride. The beginning is a bit all over the place. We open with a classic ‘doomed young people taking a shortcut on their road trip’ scene. That’s followed by a ‘drug deal gone horribly, but creatively wrong’.
And then: super well lit Christian-tv Christmas movie scene?
I stopped the film to make sure I was actually watching THE RETALIATORS, and not a similarly named heart-warming family film.
It’s a somewhat scattered beginning. But it’s worth keeping on going. THE RETALIATORS rewards your perseverance with: VIOLENCE. Lots and lots of violence.
There’s blood, wounds, bones, asphyxiation, teeth, bites, burns, mutilations. The attention to detail from both the makeup artists and directors must be seen to be believed. At one point a frying pan is used to burn a person, and not only do we see it get heated up, we see the layer of burned skin it rips from its victim.
THE RETALIATORS is not a film for the faint hearted. It is filled with gore and blood, and it is very graphic about showing it. There isn’t really much in the way of sexual violence shown on screen, but it definitely happens off screen.
Sometimes the film shots themselves jump around a little bit, but it feels more like a stylistic decision in homage to classic horror and grindhouse films. Part of the fun of THE RETALIATORS is trying to work out its influences. I picked EVIL DEAD, HALLOWEEN, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD… a true aficionado will do way better.
Along with all of that, the film has an amazing soundtrack. Much of the creative team are either musicians themselves, or have made their name in directing music videos. That’s what THE RETALIATORS reminds me of sometimes: a two hour, incredible, high budget, heavy metal music video.
THE RETALIATORS is violent, shocking, creative, and so much fun. If you don’t like the graphic horror genre – especially if you are no fan of gore – this is not the film for you.
But if you want to see some ridiculously great special effects, hear some awesome music, and commit to a hardcore horror made by people who love the genre:
THE RETALIATORS is made especially for you.
In Cinemas 14 & 16 Sept, streaming from 21 Oct.