The Aggression Scale Blu-ray

Sunday, 02 September 2012 13:58 Written by 

The Aggression Scale out on DVD and Blu-rayWhat do you get if you cross a mute, psychotic teenage boy, a maladjusted teenage girl, four gun-toting hitmen and a heap of stolen cash? Welcome to the premise of this bloody and nerve-shredding film. Imagine a fusion of “Home Alone” and MacGyver, but with an ‘18’ rating and two stars from Twin Peaks (Ray Wise and Dana Ashbrook) thrown in to up the crazy factor. This is an unstable melting pot guaranteed to explode!

Murder suspect Bellavance (Wise – Mad Men, Reaper) is out on bail, and desperate to go on the run. Before he can do that, he commands his unsavoury goons to track down money stolen from under his nose. Every suspected employee is literally in the firing line until the guilty party is uncovered. Their last stop is the new home of Bill and Maggie Rutledge, whose cunning and impressively resourceful children refuse to go down without a fight.

“The Aggression Scale” is a thumping, brisk thriller with plenty of gore and wince-inducing action. The set-up is clinical and direct, in that we witness a number of unpleasant deaths at the hands of the killers, before cutting to a family just moving into their sizeable new home in the sticks. The family has problems, but they are nice, normal people – or so we initially think.

Bill (Boyd Kestner – “Appaloosa”) and Maggie (Lisa Rotondi – “Jerry Macguire”) are a loving couple, each with a troubled child from another relationship. Seventeen-year-old Lauren (Fabianne Therese – “John Dies at the End”) is depressed and self-harms, but the real joker in the pack is Bill’s son Owen (Ryan Hartwig), who is on medication for serious aggression problems. He also has an unhealthy penchant for books on survival techniques and weaponry.

Needless to say, when the thugs come calling, Owen finds himself in a carte-blanche situation where anything goes, and his deadly knowledge becomes incredibly useful. Lauren also displays a surprisingly gutsy determination to survive and as a result, the criminals’ routine operation quickly goes south.

The acting is average at best, though Ashbrook summons up a memorable performance as Bellavance’s lead henchman, a kind of more mature version of his Twin Peaks persona, with the same disturbingly wild, staring eyes. Because he does not actually say anything, Hartwig is difficult to appraise, but he does have the aura of a boy intent on doing some serious damage, and mercifully he is a thousand times less annoying than Macaulay Culkin!

The film offers a good dollop of low-budget entertainment if you are able to leave your brain at the door, and it is efficiently shot using hand-held cameras to maintain an edgy feel. The music progresses from a pleasant piano-led piece to increasingly jagged violin and rock tracks as the tension ramps up.

Director Stephen C Miller (“Scream of the Banshee”) does a solid job, but the plot gets increasingly daft as Owen rustles up more and more intricate death traps with scant preparation time and very conveniently-placed components. The pay-off is that the outcome of each situation is telegraphed well in advance, and the dumb killers wander obligingly into the snares for our entertainment. Wile E Coyote would kill to get such easy quarry!

Unfortunately you do not get any special features thrown in with this release.

“The Aggression Scale” (2012) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The main feature has a running time of 82 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £15.99 on DVD and £19.99 on Blu-ray, or less from




Last modified on Sunday, 02 September 2012 14:13

denizli escort denizli escort