An upstanding pastor uncovers a dark and twisted underworld as he searches for answers surrounding his daughter’s brutal murder. A high-octane original soundtrack and cameos from some of the biggest names in rock music set the tone as this horror-thriller reveals a game of revenge played using a new set of rules.
The Retaliators is directed by Michael Lombardi, Bridget Smith, and Samuel Gonzalez JR and stars Michael Lombardi (Rescue Me), Marc Menchaca (Ozark), and Joseph Gatt (Game of Thrones). The film also features appearances by well-known metal, rock, and alternative bands and musicians like Five Finger Death Punch, Tommy Lee, Papa Roach, The Hu, Ice Nine Kills, Escape The Fate, and more.
This is a really, really, mixed bag. I suppose that I am what one would consider the intended demographic for this film; a metalhead with a penchant for horror films. I sat through the movie bobbing along to the songs (Love The Hu) and trying to name all of the cameos as they passed on screen. The thing is, when you have a bunch of cameos and an obvious angle, the film really loses a lot of that believability…and it honestly felt quite weird to sit through.
The Retaliators, strangely enough, feels like a film plucked right out of the nineties or the noughties. The plot, the production style, and the script all felt really dated and unoriginal and while I did enjoy the soundtrack, I felt that there was just too much fluff and too little substance. The film is quite dull for the first two acts and then explodes at the end into a bloody maelstrom of wanton carnage.
I will concede that if you enjoy Evil Dead-style mayhem and buckets of blood and viscera all while listening to what is currently cool in the world of pop-metal, then sticking through the film’s rough start is entirely worth it. The whole last act is utter madness and actually quite enjoyable if you enjoy that particular brand of horror, and by that, I mean something between a very gory zombie film and a Hills Have Eyes-style climax.
There is also that notorious dichotomy of the world of metal vs. the church, which has been a constant battleground since metal’s inception, and I think making the main character a pastor was meant to be a way to jab at that bad blood. It also provides us with that whole “turn the other cheek” message which is, unfortunately, the only lesson that our pastor takes away from the entire film.
Overall, The Retaliators is a chaotic mess that does not try to take itself too seriously. It is meant to be a fun film filled with cameos, metal, and violence and in that regard, it achieves what it set out to do. Is it a great film? No. Is it a fun film? Yes, but you have to sit through the bad to get to the good. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Artwork and trailer below. There is also a short snippet from the film that I have included for you all to check out and a link (here) if you are interested in grabbing the music used in the film. Also, tickets are available here. The film releases worldwide on September 14th.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.