‘In A Violent Nature’ Ending, Explained: Movie Recap & Spoilers

Here we are with a new horror film about a group of youths going to explore the wilderness, only to get killed one after another by a serial killer. There’s a “final girl” too, as you would expect. But what sets director Chris Nash’s In a Violent Nature apart from anything else is the choice of telling (most of) the story from the perspective of the killer. Not only does it revamp the slasher-horror genre, it also adds an artistic sensibility and makes the film a staggering achievement. Of course, this is a film that demands your attention from the get-go, and even if you watch it without blinking an eyelid, there’s every chance you’ll miss a little detail or end up getting confused. In this article, I’m going to take a swing at deconstructing In a Violent Nature.

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Spoilers Ahead


What Is The Film About?

It’s only normal for a college kid to take a pretty necklace for his girlfriend, especially if he found it in the ruins of an old fire tower. How would Troy know his one harmless act would awaken a monstrous killer ghost who was buried deep underground? It doesn’t take long for us to realize that it’s the locket the killer wants. He happens to have a deeply personal connection with it—it belonged to his mother! After a bit of tromping through the woods, Johnny (we get to know the name later, but I’m going to use it from this point, for convenience) comes across Chuck, who’s busy having a war of words with a ranger. From what we hear, Chuck seems like an obnoxious degenerate who has no qualms putting animal traps all over the forest—even if it endangers people. The ranger especially mentions a group of college-goers (Troy’s group, who else?) are visiting the woods for the weekend, but Chuck clearly doesn’t seem to care. Once the ranger leaves, Johnny attacks Chuck, and while trying to flee, Chuck gets stuck in one of his own animal traps, which is quite ironic and also sort of funny! Chuck soon meets his maker, but unfortunately for Johnny, he doesn’t find Mom’s precious necklace. Chuck did have one locket in his possession, but it appears to be a different one. The film plays a trick here, by the way, by putting you under a spell of confusion. I had to go back and compare Chuck’s locket to the one we see at the beginning of the film to clear up my doubts.

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What Exactly Happened to Johnny? 

It’s admirable how In a Violent Nature constantly uses genre tropes and makes them work in its favor. Just when you’re wondering what really happened to Johnny the killer, you get it in the best possible manner—one of the teens, Ehren, telling it to his friends while the group’s having a bonfire. It’s the ideal storytelling set-up, and the film fully embraces it. 

Johnny’s backstory is quite heartbreaking. He was a dullard seventy years ago and had a penchant for toys. His father used to run a supply store for the loggers. One day, after getting tripped over by one of Johnny’s toys, one of the loggers decided to teach him a lesson. Things went too far when the loggers decided to “kill” Johnny. He fell down from the top of the tower and died. Shortly after, Johnny’s father also died at the hands of the loggers. But it didn’t take long for those loggers to pay for their sins, as all of them were viciously murdered by a mysterious killer in what’s infamously known as the White Pine Slaughter. It’s obvious that the killer was none other than Johnny (as the ghost, the same one we see in the film’s actual timeline). Let’s not go into how a kid would turn into that kind of monster post-death, because we don’t exactly know how old Johnny was at the time of his death. All we get is the story we heard from Ehren, which he has heard from his pedophile uncle, who might well be an unreliable narrator. Johnny could well be an adult man with stunted mental growth, which would actually make a lot of sense. Ehren’s friends obviously don’t take the “White Pine Slaughter” seriously, and they don’t seem to be interested in another similar slaughter (this time the victims were a group of rangers) that happened ten years ago.

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Why Does Johnny Go On The Killing Spree?

It was only a matter of time until doom befell on the unfortunate college-goers. Their fate was sealed the moment Troy took the necklace in the first scene. The murders are exactly the kind of blood and gore you look for in films like these; in fact, there can even be articles ranking them from least gory to absolute gore-fest.

Johnny uses a saw on Ehren, who’s unfortunate enough to die while taking a piss. After dumping Ehren’s body at the nearby ranger station, Johnny goes into full costume—with the mask, chain, and everything else. The costume is a deliberate homage to Jason Voorhees, aka the killer in the iconic Friday the 13th franchise. Johnny’s next victims are Brodie and Aurora, two girls who might have a potential romance brewing between them. Sadly, that gets cut short by our vengeful killer. We don’t get to see how Brodie dies; all we know is that it happens while she’s swimming. We do get to hear her scream, which tells us that Johnny didn’t let her go easy. But I’m sure it’s nothing compared to what he does to Aurora — stabbing from the back, taking the gut out, another stab on the head and subsequently decapitating her. 

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With Ehren, Brodie, and Aurora missing, the other four get concerned. What further spooks them is the possible presence of a mysterious entity in the photo Aurora clicked the night before. It was right after Ehren told Johnny’s backstory, and we know for a fact that it is Johnny who’s in the photo. Colt and Kris want to go to the ranger station for help, but Troy seems unbothered. In fact, being a completely obnoxious idiot, he throws away the car-keys, and the keychain happens to be a toy car. Johnny finds it and is instantly hit by nostalgia. Despite what Troy thinks, Kris and Colt leave to inquire anyway—on an ATV. This provides Johnny with the perfect opportunity to do his thing with Troy and Evan. He faces a minor hiccup as Troy shoots him, which slows him down for a bit. But Johnny is a ghost, after all, so he gets up and takes care of Troy and Evan. Upon returning (with the horrific news that they’ve found Ehren’s body in the ranger station), Kris and Colt see the massacre and also the guy who’s behind it. As Johnny charges towards his next prey, Kris and Colt flee the ATV. This time around, they bump into a ranger (the same one who had the argument with Chuck in the beginning) at the station. The ranger appears to be well-versed in the lore of Johnny. In fact, from what he says, we realize that he’s a part of what happened ten years ago. Johnny killed all his ranger friends, and he’s the one who managed to tame the beast (until it came alive, thanks to Troy). You can verify what I just said by going back to the scene where Johnny takes Ehren’s body to the ranger station and stumbles upon a photo of the same ranger and his colleagues (all of whom were Johnny’s victims).

Just as the ranger is telling Kris and Colt about what Johnny is and what he can do, Johnny arrives and gets shot immediately. Knowing very well that this is not going to contain Johnny, the ranger asks Colt to help him bind Johnny with metal chains (and most likely leave him in the fire tower). Unfortunately, thanks to Colt’s inability to get a grip, the ranger fails to pull it off and pays the price. Johnny seems to be really miffed with the ranger (most likely because of what the ranger did to him a decade ago), as he takes a lot of time to meticulously slices him up inside the station. Once that’s done, it’s time for Colt to be stupid and turn into a bloody mush.

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Does Kris manage to get away? 

The moment you see the necklace hanging from Kris’ neck, it gets quite clear that she is the final girl in this tale. And while Johnny is quite busy making the Colt-mush, Kris does the smartest possible thing—leaving the necklace and silently getting away—before starting to run for her life. She accidentally hurts her leg in a sharp piece of wood, but still manages to find the main road. Fortunately for her, a local woman picks her up, and in no time, Kris is going to the hospital. While it doesn’t make any sense for Johnny to come for Kris anymore, In a Violent Nature keeps you on the edge for a good final ten minutes where this woman (played by Lauren-Marie Taylor, who was in Friday the 13th Part 2) narrates a story about her brother getting attacked by a bear in the same woods. You might think it was not a bear, but Johnny (as I did), but after giving some thought, I’m quite certain it was a bear after all. If it were Johnny, the guy wouldn’t have survived.

In the final scene of In a Violent Nature, we see Kris looking at the woods while the woman is tending her injured leg. Kris is looking visibly scared, and we know for a fact that she’s thinking Johnny might come out of the woods at any moment. However, that doesn’t happen. The final girl does get away, leaving behind all the horror. Needless to say, this has to be the most fitting conclusion this film could have had.

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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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