THE AGGRESSION SCALE (2012)
D. STEVEN C. MILLER
ANCHOR BAY ENT.
2.35 - 1
This tightly wound little thriller literally hits the ground running when hit-man Lloyd (Dana Ashbrook from TWIN PEAKS) enters a suburban home and calmly blows the person out the front door with as shotgun in front of their kids. After a couple more equally bloody and unsettling murders we come to find out he is working for local mob boss Mr. Bellevance (Ray Wise). Seems someone has absconded with $500,000 of his money and he is none to happy about it. If Lloyd doesn't get the money in 48 hours, he gets put under the ground.
Then we meet slowly fracturing, newly thrown together family. Bill (Boyd Kestner)and Maggie (Lisa Rotondi) have just gotten married and are moving their two teen aged children up to a new house to start over. The kids are not happy about it. The daughter Lauren (Fabianne Therese) is a typical spoiled bitch who is complaining about everything. But their son Owen (Ryan Hartwig) is a different sort of child, clearly autistic and introverted, he never utters a word throughout the film. But we get wind early on that something is brewing inside of him when he kills a spider with a makeshift blowgun...
Before long Lloyd and his brutal gang of thugs (Including Derek Meyers from the FRIDAY THE 13th remake and THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake) are there killing their way through the supporting cast, but what they didn't count on was the Owen is actually the concern of the title.
What transpires id that this young boy with extreme autism, is actually as dangerous, if not more so, than these thugs and killers. That he has been training himself for survival strategies and this whole situation becomes an extremely bloody game for him.
It would be easy to dismiss THE AGGRESSION SCALE as HOME ALONE for adults. That is the easiest short hand for it. But that also cheapens what is one of the freshest, most exciting thrillers I have watched since HANNA (2011). Constantly exciting, lean and to the point, viciously brutal and uncompromising, it is edge of your seat stuff. Sure there are missteps along the way. Owen's actions are sometimes way too exacting, with him having the forethought to do things that ONLY make sense if he were to know the script itself. The daughter, Lauren, gets really annoying with her teenage angst early on, but thankfully the films spends very little time with that before getting to the action.
The movie is getting really bad reviews on the IMDB, which just furthers my opinion that the people who leave comments and reviews there are trolls. Check this one out, it is well worth your time.
Review © Andrew Copp