Those old enough to remember the independent video stores of old will find something to appreciate with Video Violence. Yes, for those who can’t remember a time before Netflix, Amazon Prime and the rise of streaming services, you once had to go to a store. There you’d pick out a movie and rent it. You’d have a membership card and it would be scanned. You’d take your movie home watch it and return it in the allotted time otherwise you’d incur late fees.
The modern trend of rose-tinted glasses for everything of the past has many a person wishing for those days. Well, they’re not coming back so to get your fix you have to watch movies like Video Violence. A horror that is gloriously 80’s in look and style, capturing that time perfectly.
Steven (Art Neill) and his wife, Rachel (Jackie Neill) have bought a video rental store in the new town they have just moved too. Business is booming but the couple find the rest of the townspeople a little strange. Mainly because all they want to rent are violent and gory movies.
Then one day, their employee Rick (Kevin Haver) finds an unusual tape in the returns bin. A VHS with no markings so Steven and Rick watch it and make a horrifying discovery. The tape appears to show a real murder (snuff movie) happening.
Steven goes to get the Sheriff who has very little interest in the tale he is being told but comes back to the video store anyway. Once they arrive though, Rick is gone and so is the tape. Later, another unmarked VHS shows up and this one is even worse as the victim is Rick.
Steven again tries to involve the Sheriff who ‘accidentally’ erases it. This is the moment he and us realise the town’s obsession with death on VHS might have even more sinister connotations.
One group of people are really going to enjoy the dated look and feel of Video Violence. The other is going to find it unbearably cheap and a bit slow. We fall in the middle as the retro style is appealing, the story is solid and the acting passable (at least from the leads).
However, it’s very predictable and the torture scenes that play from the tapes go on far too long. They’re not particularly brutal, just more boring and dragged out then anything else. The killers are a pair of ‘good old boys’ and they stink up the screen with high screeching voices that grate. You’ll want to skip these but they make up a big portion of the actual film!
It’s not an 80s classic by any stretch but there is fun to had with Video Violence. It’s from an era that is completely extinct now so go watch a slice of history.