The Retaliators (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Retaliators (2021) Review

Horrorific content by damienfduncan on October 23rd, 2021 | Movie Review | Indie Horror, Thriller, Revenge

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It's about a pastor who discovers disturbing and horrific truths about his small town as he investigates the murder of his daughter.

The Retaliators was directed by Samuel Gonzalez Jr. and Bridget Smith; and stars Michael Lombardi, Marc Menchaca (from No One Gets Out Alive and Alone) and Joseph Gatt (from Killing Ariel).

Sometimes Its Better To Keep Evil Alive

The Retaliators (2021)

The Retaliators is all over the place. The beginning of the movie (and trailer) will have you believe this is your run-of-the-mill scorch the Earth, revenge story. Man's daughter dies, man questions life, man seeks answers. This is soon convoluted by conflicting story arcs, causing the film to morph into a handful of different genres.

The film follows a small-town pastor who just wants the best for his daughters. After losing his wife, he struggles with the pressures of being the best single parent he can be, respectfully. Seeking validation for this, he allows his oldest daughter to attend a local party. During this time we witness a drug deal go wrong, ending with the seller locked in the buyer's trunk. As the pastor's daughter heads to the party she stops by the gas station to fill up, where she parks adjacent to the same man with a body in his vehicle. She is witness to muffled screaming and a moving trunk which soon leads to her fleeing the scene, and ultimately her demise. 

The movie is riddled with farfetched characters that make decisions, which to the average viewer, are just preposterous. After attacking and chasing a young girl in a well lit gas station, the detective investigating the crime just simply checks the camera footage and has his man. All the while sporadic montages are peppered in, set to songs by bands appearing as actors in the film. It just feels cringe.

We are then introduced to the rest of the gang, which is basically just members from the band Five Finger Death Punch. Between the poorly written dialogue and musicians seeking a greater artistic range through acting, the whole thing just becomes unconvincing. It's as if the viewer is to believe drug rings are operated by nothing more than tatted up strip club patrons that speak to each other in juvenile catchphrases.

It is around this part in the movie where the pastor, seeking answers, meets with the detective. The detective tells a long-winded tale about how he, too, has lost his wife and daughter, in an attempt to establish trust before revealing he has his daughter's killer. Up until this point in the movie I would have considered it an action/thriller. 

As disturbing truths are revealed to the pastor, the second half of the movie switches genres completely, as if they forgot they were marketing the film as a horror/thriller. I found the switch to be so abrupt, it can almost be compared to the likes of From Dusk Till Dawn, however it is evident that The Retaliators does this unintentionally. 

As a bloodbath ensues, the pastor is now strapped to the teeth with weapons and fighting for his own survival. This hardened grit, combined with his self reflection in the first half of the movie would almost seem believable if only the film didn't flip genres again. 

As the pastor fights for his life (not even justice for the death of his daughter), he becomes this slap-stick comedy character that straight-up rips off Evil Dead's Ash. With maniacal laughter and buckets of blood, you can't help but ask "What am I watching?" To top it off, they tossed in a few CGI blood spurts in an otherwise all make-up film here, further contorting the viewing experience.

As the movie comes to an end, you get the obligatory "means to an end" wrap-up scene, and a pastor who is now hardened by his quest for answers, though you'll question if anything was actually learned throughout this cluster bomb of a movie. 

Worth Watching?

Not really, no. It is nice to see new writers and musicians expanding their artistic range, but unless you're a fan of the bands appearing in the film, you'll definitely be disappointed. The only way to actually enjoy this movie is going into it knowing that you and your friends can laugh at the cringe dialogue and unrealistic decisions each character makes.

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