There's a kernel of a decent thriller in "A Proper Violence," but the resulting film, directed and shot by then-20-year-old Chris Faulisi, from a script he wrote with Matt Robinson, is so unsatisfyingly structured and sluggishly paced that its debits far outweigh its potential merits.
For starters, this micro-budgeted movie is saddled with a disjointed and elliptical opening half-hour that tiresomely plays peek-a-boo with the actual story. Eventually, though, it becomes clear that the haunted protagonist, Morgan (Randy Spence), is a convicted rapist just released from prison. Desperate for human connection, he accepts an invitation to join a trio of strangers on a weekend camping trip, unaware the three are all connected to the woman he raped — and that they have revenge in mind.
Loneliness aside, why Morgan would disappear into the woods with these uninviting guys — the rape victim's nasty husband (Shawn Mahoney), her conflicted brother (Justin Morck) and her husband's duplicitous married friend (Will Brunson) — is beyond logic. Why Morgan stays once tough truth games arise, tempers flare and guns are drawn makes even less sense.
Weakly developed characters, a lack of substantive tension and an ending that's more startling than sound round out the minuses of this earnestly motivated but undercooked morality tale.
"A Proper Violence." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes. At the Culver Plaza Theatres, Culver City.