Customer Reviews: Aggression Scale [Blu-ray]
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on June 6, 2012
I had no idea I was going to love this movie so much ,I mean I really love it.
The story itself is great ,yes I read all the references about Home Alone and it's true, it's very Home Alone Meets Toy Soldiers but much much more brutal.
For the synopsis you can read the one given. It's unnecessary reading in a review if it's already given.

The characters of Owen and Lauren 'Ryan Hartwig'and 'Fabianne Therese' were so intriguing and their acting was amazing.
They played perfectly off one another as newly not yet adapted step brother and step sister.

I loved watching the chemistry between them and seeing how her trust in him grows and blossoms.
Owen's genius and raw ability to inflict violence was in itself perfectly paced and brilliant to watch.

The fact that the intruders walked into the house blind to the time bomb that is Owen let you know you were in for a great ride.It did not disappoint.Owen's methodical planning and execution of his traps and justice were like that of Home alone but done with the mind of a child that blows pins out of a straw to kill insects and hits the target dead on.

The violence is plentiful,it's not extremely gory but it is very bloody and brutal.
I watched it on demand and immediately bought the Blu Ray.
The ending is one that I had to rewind 3 times so I could revisit it again and again.
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I'm going to try to NOT oversell the gritty indie "The Aggression Scale." This is a small, low-budget endeavor that succeeds on its own modest terms. But it is really best to keep your expectations in check, that way you might be pleasantly surprised. A hit at this year's SXSW Film Festival, "The Aggression Scale" tells a fairly simple story, allows for a slow build tension, and then packs a few terrifically unpleasant confrontations into its final act. But the less you know, the better. The movie is already being compared to another prominent and beloved film (both by the media and with other reviewers here). I'm not mentioning which movie, though. I happen to think that making this comparison devalues the twists that develop in the film's second half. I had been aware of this prior to seeing the film and as I watched the movie, I wished I hadn't known where exactly we were headed. In fact, I screened this with a friend and kept all secrets to myself. When things started happening, it had much more impact for him because he wasn't expecting anything in particular.

Truthfully, there's not much plot to director Steven C. Miller's third film. But guess what? It doesn't really matter. It's best not to scrutinize the film from an intellectual level, just hang on for the experience. I was no fan of his last movie, The Scream of the Banshee, which took a good idea and turned it into a most generic thriller. For me, "The Aggression Scale" definitely is a step in the right direction, but it's still quite rough around the edges. In this case, though, that works well for the movie which has a seventies exploitation type ambience. It's a gritty Grindhouse type of movie with loads of violence, a fascinating hero, menacing bad guys, and an occasional lapse of logic. But it works. "Twin Peaks" veterans Ray Wise and Dana Ashbrook join forces as the primary villains in the piece. Wise, a crime boss just out of jail, enlists his henchman (led by Ashbrook) to recover some stolen money. This leads to general murder and mayhem.

You want more story? Too bad. Nothing is particularly explained beyond this cursory outline. The bad guys soon go after a family at their desolate country home. And the rest of the story plays out as a cat-and-mouse game of survival. As I said, there are some nice surprises and much brutality. It's always good to see Wise although he doesn't have much to do here. The break-out performance is young Ryan Hartwig, who conveys a lot without saying anything. I liked "The Aggression Scale" for exactly what it is. It's not a great movie by any means, but it is an effective one on a visceral level. With moderate expectation, there's plenty to enjoy here as a guilty pleasure. About 3 1/2 stars, I'll round up for Hartwig. KGHarris, 5/12.
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on April 26, 2012
Home Alone meets Rambo.

Steven C. Miller's "The Aggression Scale" starts with "bang!" as hitman Lloyd (Dana Ashbrook) sends a message with his shotgun.

We quickly learn that Lloyd has been sent by mob boss Mr. Bellevance (Twin Peak's Ray Wise) to find a large sum of stolen money. Lloyd and his fellow crew Chissolm (Derek Mears from Friday the 13th), Freddie (Jacob Reynolds from Gummo) and Wydofki ("the knife man" played by Jospeh McKelheer from The Hamiltons) kill a handful of people before finally arriving on the new doorsteps of the Rutledge family.

Bill (Boyd Kestner) and Maggie Rutledge (Lisa Rotondi) are recently married, each with a teenager from a previous relationship. Lauren (Fabianne Therese) is Maggie's troubled daughter, angry at having to move across the country to a new house with people she barely knows. But it is silent Owen Rutledge (Ryan Hartwig) who has the bigger issues...a fact that Lloyd and his boys are soon to discover for themselves when they kick in the door.

Dread calls The Aggression Scale "one of the more unusual and clever games of cat and mouse fans have ever experienced before."
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on May 12, 2012
A mob boss (Ray Wise) wants his stolen money back and everyone who might be involved, killed. He also wants proof which requires the use of a Polaroid (seriously?). After 3 people are snuffed we switch to the subplot. A family of four...recently married move into a new home. The son Owen is creepy and silent. He is interested in things that kill. Lauren (Fabianne Therese) is his 17 year-old step sister who showers with her back to the camera...end of eye candy.

It isn't hard to figure out how this grindhouse plot and family drama come together. When Owen gets a chance to escape, rather than take it...cue heavy metal music as the quiet teen opts to fight 4 grown armed men. In this "Home Alone" tale, Macaulay Culkin is a psycho, who, like a cat, likes to play with its prey before the kill.

Derek Mears, one of the bad guys has that creepy Michael Berryman look to him, but acts more like a pansy. I found his character to be darkly comical as things happen to him. Dana Ashbrook comes across as George Cloony light. Good old fashion home break-in with some new twists. Excellent blood splatter. "B" movie fun. I would have given the film 5 stars had they played Talking Heads "Psycho Killer."

F-bomb, no sex, no nudity (Fabianne Therese- side breast). pot smoking
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on August 10, 2012
While not without its flaws, The Aggression Scale was surprisingly entertaining. It starts out like every other mobster-wants-his-stolen-money-back B-movie, but this time there's a twist. You see, when they target this one family they think may be holding the money, they didn't reckon on their little disturbed son, fresh home from a psychiatric institution. You see, the little kid has had some issues with violence in his past ...

The movie is clearly low-budget, and the quality of the directing varies from abyssal to brilliant, and then back again. The acting is variable, with some actors clearly more skilled than others. Yet the ingenuity and sheer violent energy of the movie doesn't fail to delight. If this is the director's first feature film (and I suspect that it is), I can't wait to see what he comes up with when he's more seasoned!

I recommend this film to anybody who's not particularly squeamish ...
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on August 25, 2012
No two ways about it, this movie was awesome. I'll even say from start to finish on this, because the opening scenes definitely get your attention. Basically this movie is what Home Alone would have been like had Macaulay Culkin's character failed some anger management classes. Add to this premise one Dana Ashbrook who plays a menacing (and menaced!) villain and the ever awesome Ray Wise and the situation is complete. There's not much to say about creative camera angles, scrupulous sound editing, and innovative lighting. No, reader, this movie's strength is in the sheer cat-and-mouse suspense that inevitably and irresistibly builds, and yes, the ending is totally worth it.
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In THE AGGRESSION SCALE, its all about the kid. His name is Owen (Ryan Hartwig), and he's a troubled teen. He has deep, disturbing behavioral issues. His dad and his new wife see this as a possible detriment to marital bliss. Wha? Somebody just kicked in the door to the family homestead? A group of thugs w/ guns? Well, it looks like Owen's little problem just became a valuable asset, and man, is he ever up to the challenge! I love this kid! He never utters a word, silently dispatching bad guys like he's swatting angry flies. Owen is the type you would expect to commit the next big school shooting, yet in this current context, he's a savage savior! SCALE turns our ideas about violent youth inside out, making us cheer for a person we would normally shun. Very refreshing! And yes, this is what HOME ALONE might have been like, if it hadn't been made as a cartoon...
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on July 21, 2013
Surprisingly good for fairly unknown movie. As others have said it is like a hardcore Home Alone. A mob boss gets out of prison and wants bloody revenge on those that put him in prison and the people that took his money. Little does he know one of the key culprits has a kid that is rated 99% on the aggression scale. The best of the movie begins when the mob boss's henchmen tangle with this kid and his traps. Well worth at least a rental. I bought the Blu-ray based on reviews and the low price (under $10).

Recommendations: Home Alone,Hostage, and Rambo

CA Luster
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on December 17, 2012
I'd read all the reviews of this and knew what to expect, but i have to admit it was far more entertaining than expected. In many respects, it's a tragic, bloody story of crooks killing their way through a list of suspected thieves, but things go wrong for them when they enter the home of a kid fresh out of the loony bin for violent behavior. What i liked about the movie is that Owen, the kid, is not portrayed as evil or nuts. He's just very resourceful and is in his element dealing with the bad guys. Overall, a very fun ride.
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on January 15, 2014
I really hate when they make movies like this one, because there is absolutely no point to the whole thing. If I wanted to see a bunch of people running around, shooting at each other, while hardly saying a word, I'd watch a John Wayne movie. The Aggression Scale is a pointless film about a mob boss, who sends his team to close some unfinished business. Mr. Bellavance (Ray Wise) doesn't want any witnesses and his team goes on a killing spree. Everything is going as planned, until they find a family whose children decide to fight back. This could have been a darker version of Home Alone or even something similar to Die Hard with kids, but it wasn't. The lead character, played by Ryan Hartwig, doesn't say a word through the entire film. No cute catch phrase, nothing special at the end, not a single word, but even that was preferable to the performance of Fabianne Therese. The whole movie this girl is whining, crying, and making weird noises, it really was enough to drive a person insane. As I said earlier, there really is no point to this film and there is no reason to watch it either. The story is thin and the film is basically an hour and a half of people running around shooting at each other. The Aggression Scale represents the worst Hollywood has to offer and it's mind boggling that a company would even agree to make something as bad as this.
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