Those opening minutes of the film could have been used to establish the ostensible lead, Grace, in a much more robust manner. The entirety of her character is summed up in one exchange with her highfalutin roommate. This a movie, show, don’t tell. Highlight the kind of auditions she’s been going on, or how Grace’s meekness makes casting directors overlook her entirely. These hypothetical sequences would only enhance the rest of the film. The rationale behind the movie in the movie would be the exact same, just have Grace and Foster figure it out when they find the secret room the director hides in.
Thus, nothing about the motivations for anyone changes. Plus, it would still keep a meta-narrative angle, as it is a horror-thriller about the making of a horror-thriller. Condon (the director proper, not the character in the movie) still gets to play around with scene structure and expectations via reality versus scripted moments. Some of those bits are the best in Incredible Violence, and they would not be lost by fixing the sole issue in this movie.
Seriously, outside of the opening not working as intended, Incredible Violence is a hard-hitting, gory flick with perfect acting. Kehler is stunning as Grace. Her transformation from timid to take no prisoners confident is fascinating, and she sells every minute of it. Oates, as the weary director, is pretty good as well. While his story does not totally work, the actor sells the desperation well. Worthman, as Foster, has a tricky role. The viewer needs to both sympathize with and be sickened by Foster’s actions. Worthman is up to the challenge and is a fearsome presence.
“Kehler is stunning as Grace.”
Adam Foran’s score is of vital importance to the tone and atmosphere. It is an exhilarating composition that buoys the drama and horror perfectly. The set design is also quite spectacular, as the house looks and feels oppressive in a way that is hard to put into words. Condon harnesses that overbearing feeling into a perilous and chilling watch.
There is a steadily growing sense of menace that begins once everyone arrives at the house to start filming. This explodes into an orgy of violence within the last 30-minutes. Incredible Violence becomes a sly commentary on the enjoyment of violent media, while itself offering those same visceral thrills. It is a dichotomy that does not always work in movies. But here, thanks to a strong screenplay, compelling characters, and impressive direction, it does not come across as hypocritical preaching.
Incredible Violence hangs its hat on a framing device, if you will, that is ultimately pointless and offers nothing to the main story at hand. But, the film proves itself to be an intense watch, bolstered by a great cast and excellent direction. All of which culminates into a final act that is shocking and brilliant.