The Retaliators // A good time of a movie review

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The Retaliators starts out in your typical horror movie fashion. Road trip turned wrong turn meets zombie apocalypse. Okay, Better Noise Films, you have my attention. I’m an easy date. Let’s do this.

But wait, there’s more!” shouts Ed Valenti (RIP). As the scenes unfold, there are storylines and scenes that confuse me and have me wondering if I am watching the same movie or maybe a mistake was made and there are several spliced into one. Don’t let my confused meanderings of the mind dissuade you from catching this throat punch to the crotch, though. The Retaliators entertainingly combines some tried and true favorite action and horror elements to keep you hooked scene by scene.

Nostalgia meets horror meets corny dad jokes

The movie opens with a scene that triggers nostalgia circa late 90s/early 2000s era. Maybe only to me, but who doesn’t relate intensely to old creaky van road trips and back road excursions. We’re greeted with layers of jump scares, gore, and beautiful nature imagery, which I find to be a terrifyingly comforting mood.

When we meet our protagonist, John Bishop (Michael Lombardi), we’re introduced to a corny dad with tired jokes and God on his side. Our pastor is charismatic and a father to two girls. I’m flooded with memories of silly Friday night family comedy or maybe Nick at Nite. Either way, I’m here for it.

Several stories are happening at once, and at times I feel like packing so much into 97 minutes is a bit overwhelming. As the story progresses, though, moments begin to commingle and connect to give you a satisfying A-HA! moment in the finale. Watching The Retaliators, I was initially under the impression that the movie would have made a great short series on a network like AMC. There were backstories and character history I would have enjoyed learning more about and thought what a great series idea. That intersection at the end, tying all the stories together, though, was so satisfying I’m left satiated with the delivery.

Pastor Dad loses his daughter to a horrible crime, and I am telling you right now that Katie Kelly broke my heart playing out Sarah Bishop’s final moments. I was sucked into her fear and thankful that I was indeed watching a revenge movie. Or so I thought. Trust the process here; I promise it delivers.

Bring on the buckets of blood

I know many people aren’t fans of gore or “torture porn,” and I get it. It can definitely be overdone and, often, be a cheap ploy to fill out a lacking story. I am someone who does enjoy it, though, and I appreciate the added element of discomfort it adds to the experience. I’m a healthcare worker, and even though I’ve seen some grisly (nay…gnarly) things in real life, I still cringe and cower, covering my ears when I see bones breaking and teeth smashing onscreen. The Retaliators does not disappoint when it comes to delivering violence, gore, and lots of practical effects. The practical effects team had fun with this one and I tip my hat to them. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a slut for some fun practical effects. Think “Scanners” head exploding and you’re headed in the right direction.

And OMG…there’s a bloody wood chipper scene with “Oh Holy Night” fantastically playing in the background!

Speaking of music, if you’re a fan of the rock music, as the kids say these days (sorry, I couldn’t resist adding some extra cheese), then this soundtrack may interest you – Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Eva Under Fire, The HU, and fucking Motley Crue are just a teensy dusting of this literal music to your ears. Sprinkle in a cop with a revenge dungeon, and we have the makings of a good time. Sex dungeon, revenge dungeon, same thing to the open-minded.

Alright, ready to experience this cameo-infused breath of fresh horror? Head over to for a good time.

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