Members of Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Mötley Crüe and more star in this gory flick
Heavy music and horror movies have gone hand in hand aesthetically, thematically, and literally for decades. The latest marriage of the two comes in the form of The Retaliators, a film that starts out as a relatively simple revenge thriller before dialing it up to 11 and turning into a vicious, depraved and action-packed gore fest. Bands attached to Better Noise Records (who produced the project under the banner of Better Noise Films) light up the soundtrack, but Retaliators also has the draw of actually casting several stars of the music scene to show off their acting chops.
The film follows an upstanding single father named Bishop (Michael Lombardi) who cares for his two daughters, Sarah (Katie Kelly) and Rebecca (Abbey Hafer), while also attending to his duties as the beloved pastor of their local church. Bishop is pretty much the textbook definition of a saint, cracking lame dad jokes with his kids and never allowing frustration or anger to take over, even when the jerks of the world try his patience.
One fateful evening, Sarah winds up at the wrong place at the wrong time and runs into a ruthless hitman named Ram (Joseph Gatt) while he’s in the middle of completing a job. Ram doesn’t like witnesses. When news of Sarah’s fate reaches Bishop, it understandably shatters his world into a million pieces. He clearly won’t ever be the same, especially once the lead investigator, Jed (Marc Menchaca) offers him a not-so-moral chance at pure, cold blooded revenge. Will Bishop embrace the darkness and hatred within himself or remain a pure and wholesome pillar of his community?
The Retaliators boasts some fun appearances from rock stars throughout including Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, and Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch as a gang of dangerous criminals, Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach as a notorious and deranged serial killer named Quinn Brady, and even none other than Tommy Lee who pops up as a strip club DJ. Keep an eye out for Craig Mabbit of Escape the Fate as well, and keep those ears open to hear favorite tracks from Asking Alexandria, Eva Under Fire, The HU and more.
Thankfully, the film also offers a bit more than just Rock Star Theater Camp thanks to genuinely awesome practical effects and makeup. Once The Retaliators hits overdrive in its third act, there’s not likely to be any horror fan left unsatiated. Blood and guts are spilled, eyeballs are popped out, and tons of other insane B-movie exploitation antics go down as Bishop and Jed face off against scores of demented foes. It’s messy and gory fun pushed to the limit.
It makes you wish the entire movie had that same energy; that kind of unapologetically wild and wicked attitude that arrives almost too late and is over far too quickly. Had The Retaliators tried being a little funnier and more carefree throughout rather than the self-serious crime thriller it’s trying to be most of the time, it could make for an instant favorite among lovers of obscure horror flicks thanks to the sheer, unbridled audacity of its violent third act. Still, with the unique cast, soundtrack, and gory action, it’s likely that this thing is destined for cult status no matter what.
‘The Retaliators’ is now playing in select theaters.