The Retaliators, the new horror-thriller film from Better Noise Films, explores what happens to those who go unpunished for their sins by man’s law and instead face the wrath of vengeance.
The opening of The Retaliators has you briefly questioning if you’re watching the right movie when it feels like you somehow stepped into a zombie movie only to be dragged back an undisclosed amount of time before the events of this cold open.
From there, the film quickly establishes its lead protagonist and antagonist.
Our lead protagonist, Bishop, is made out to be a man who is capable of defending himself but, because he is also a man of the cloth, he chooses to refrain from retaliating against those who wrong him and instead walks the path of non-violence.
While Ram, the film’s primary antagonist, is a man who takes pleasure in hurting other people.
The two men’s stories collide when Bishop’s oldest daughter inadvertently catches Ram in the act of attempted murder.
Bishop’s life is then turned upside down after his oldest daughter is murdered for no reason other than that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
From here, Bishop meets Jed, a cop who, like himself, suffered an injustice when his pregnant wife was murdered at the hands of a serial rapist and murderer, Quinn Brady, who was released from prison after only serving six years behind bars for his crimes.
Bishop’s world and faith are tested even further when he is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on the man responsible for killing his daughter when Jed offers him the opportunity to spend one minute alone with him.
Succumbing to this temptation, Bishop agrees to go along with Jed to his isolated cabin, where he shows Bishop his own version of justice and introduces him to the men and women he has abducted over the years – men and women who might otherwise have gone unpunished by the law for their sins.
At the same time, Ram’s brother has begun his bloody search for his missing brother – a search that will eventually lead him to Jed’s house of horrors.
Faced with the chance of redemption, Bishop again chooses the path of righteousness, a path that results in Jed’s prisoners breaking free from their hellish confinement.
Coming to terms with his predicament, Bishop soon realizes that he must break the sixth commandment and send these tortured souls to Hell.
The Retaliators is more focused on the payoff and less concerned about how it gets there.
This is evident by the fact that Jed is able to find Ram with relative ease. The movie attempts to explain the fact that he managed to find him so quickly with a piece of dialogue where Jed reveals that he has been on his “radar for some time.”
The same expedited detective work is conducted by the members of Five Finger Death Punch, who somehow know of and locate a tracker device for Ram… because I guess he has LoJack?
The decision to have the film jump around in time also creates a confusing narrative as it takes the viewer out of the moment and forces them to try to figure out what is happening and where they are in the story.
The Retaliators’ sub-plot of the two rival gangs feels pointless in a film that is more concerned with showcasing Jed’s perverse form of justice. This is apparent by the fact that the gang members show up just in time to be swarmed by the horde of Jed’s prisoners, serving only to act as food for the damned and nothing else.
It’s in the final act where The Retaliators will leave its mark on the audience. In an Ash Williams style finale, Bishop has to hack and slash his way through Jed’s hostages in a blood bath of insanity. One has to wonder if this idea came first and if everything else in the film was just an afterthought.
The Retaliators is a film that goes all over the place. You go into the movie thinking you’re going to get more Death Sentence, but end up getting a more twisted version of Dexter instead.
The Retaliators stars Michael Lombardi (Rescue Me), Marc Menchaca (Ozark), and Joseph Gatt (Game of Thrones), alongside Jacoby Shaddix, frontman of Papa Roach, making his acting debut.
The Retaliators also features cameos and music by Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee; Five Finger Death Punch’s Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, and Chris Kael; Papa Roach; Jaya of The Hu; Spencer Charnas of Ice Nine Kills; Eva Under Fire’s Amanda Lyberg; Matt Brandyberry, Danny Case, Lance Dowdle, and Matt Madiro of From Ashes to New; Cory Marks; and Dan Murphy and Miles Franco of All Good Things.
Watch The Retaliators and see what happens when a good man is faced with the realization that the only way to survive is to kill. After all, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
The Retaliators will be distributed worldwide on September 14, 2022 through CineLife Entertainment and Trafalgar Releasing.