You ever wondered if Macaulay Culkin was given a gun instead of a Michael Jordan cut out what Home Alone might have been like? Steven C.Miller’s The Aggression Scale might just be what Home Alone with guns would be like and it’s fun, violent roller coaster ride into Home invasion territory fans of the genre will enjoy.
After ben charged with murder ruthless crime boss Reg Bellavance (Ray Wise) is released on bail for 48 hours. Reg doesn’t plan to take up that residence behind bars as he’s aiming to flee the country with his son but before he can he must get his hands on the funds he had put aside for his hasty departure. To the recover, that money that he says has been ‘stolen’ Reg hires a hitman Lloyd (Dana Ashbrook) with his cronies to hunt down, take care of those who ‘stole’ his money a bloodbath that leads to the Routledge. Newlyweds Bill& Maggie with their kids Lauren (Fabienne Therese) and Owen (Ryan Hartwig) have moved from the city into the country but as Lloyd and his goons arrive at the Routledge’s they do find out a secret. They soon discover Owen is emotionally disturbed, just been released from hospital against the wishes of the doctors, Owen also has a secret history of violent behaviour that will make Lloyd’s previous exploits look like child play!
If it’s violence you want The Aggression Scale will provide you with that fix as at not time does it hold back on anything and we mean anything! It’s not a film full of gore that some horror purists may desire though this is not a horror, more a film that action/thriller fans may enjoy. The hardcore action starts right away with a killing montage right at the start which sets the tone of the film letting us know what we’re watching is dark, gritty violent ride keeping on an unsettled throughout the film’s short 80minute running time.What does feel questionable about the film is Lloyd and his cronies who at the start of the film were quick to kill their victims (even in front of children) but when there face to face with the Routledges they don’t seem to be as trigger happy.
The film’s generic clichéd ending is slightly forgivable only thanks to the fairly strong script with a storyline that’s kept simple and also the performance of 2 of the films cast. Dana Ashbrook is great as Lloyd a determined cold blood Killer who takes no for an answer but Ryan Hartwig as Owen proving silence is deadly but also never judge a book by its cover or its curtains for you. What was really positive was Owen been a person with mental health issues was never really portrayed in a negative way media seem to, Miller does show Owen is human and has a sensitive subtle side protecting his sister.
The Aggression Scale maybe silly, violent but entertaining film, one of very few home invasion films that prove there’s life still in the genre post-Coen Brothers Blood Simple. Not perfect but entertaining overall.
★★★1/2| Paul Devine
Thriller, Crime | USA, 2012 | 18 | 3rd September 2012 (UK) | Platform Entertainment | Dir.Steven C.Miller | Dana Ashbrook, Ryan Hartwig, Fabiene Therese, Ray Wise | Buy:The Aggression Scale [DVD]