Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Well this is an interesting sidestep for Ti West, director of The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. We are big fans of both movies here at TwistedWing, and were quick to forgive him for his criminally lazy short in The ABCs of Death. M for Miscarriage was a tasteless affair from start to finish. In a Valley of Violence is Ti's first Western, and the timing couldn't be more perfect, seeing as most of us are filling the space left behind by Game of Thrones with HBO's Westworld.

Ethan Hawke and John Travolta face off in a horror/western hybrid that rarely takes itself seriously. The concept is simple, fitting in to the western genre like a cowgirl at a rodeo. A mysterious stranger (Hawke), his dog (adorably hilarious) and a random act of violence, drag a town of misfits into the bloody cross hairs of revenge. Think John Wick with holsters and you can't go far wrong. American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga is along for the ride, alongside James Ransone (Sinister 2) and Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy).

West doesn't go out of his way to make a parody, but In a Valley of Violence does walk a fine line between serious contender and spoof. When the dust finally settles, however, he pretty much gets away with it. Travolta is better than he has been in years, Hawke is a perfect fit for this kind of movie and the dog is quite clearly the star of the show. The hallmarks of the western genre are recreated perfectly, including a fun Tarantino-esque credit sequence and a memorable score, and there is plenty of violence to keep the average horror junkie happy. Ti's standout features were built on suspense, not extreme violence, so this is an interesting detour in more ways than one. 

In a Valley of Violence could have been a giant mess of a movie but both cast and crew get the tone just right. Brutal, silly and fun, Ti has made a screwball western that wears its humour like a Sheriff's badge. Throwaway perhaps, but undeniably fun.

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