A brutal, bloody rampage of revenge, The Retaliators is one of those films that knows exactly what the audience wants – and delivers in spades.

It’s as if directors Samuel Gonzalez Jr and Bridget Smith were given a script for Taken back in the day, but came back and said ‘OK, but what if we make this bit more excessive, or this a bit more violent?’

How much you will enjoy this may well depend on your tolerance for this sort of stuff, but let’s just say this one sat very nicely for me.

Michael Lombardi plays John Bishop, a bizarre sort of ‘rock pastor’, who for some reason has metal bands playing at his sermons and stuff like that. A single parent with two daughters, Bishop is pretty straight-laced, fiercely pacifist and keeping a tight rein on his kids’ antics.

All that changes though when he relents and lets teenage daughter Sarah (Katie Kelly) head off to a party in his car. Stopping for gas, Sarah stumbles across very much the wrong person at the wrong time, triggering a series of events that will see Bishop forced to question his very beliefs.

To be fair, there are quite a few more twists and turns in The Retaliators than that, but I do not want to spoil the surprises as Gonzalez Jr and Smith’s effort does indeed go to plenty of places I was not expecting.

Running at a breakneck pace pretty much right from the off, violence is very much king here and boy, is it in your face – with more bone-breaking, skull-crushing and limb-hacking than you can shake a stick at.

The whole thing gets wildly over-the-top, so anyone expecting a movie that sticks to the believable should steer well clear. I also admit I did not really care for the copious amount of rock/metal cameos and influences that litter the film, as that musical genre just doesn’t do it for me – in fact, there’s a couple of montages in the film that more resemble music videos than actual film.

But this is a minor quibble really for a film that left me with a goofy grin on my face – after sitting through plenty of straight-faced, serious movies at this year’s Frightfest, sometimes you just fancy a ‘Big Mac’ of a movie – and The Retaliators certainly is that.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: The Retaliators
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle