Blu-ray Review: The Aggression Scale

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews

If you ever thought, “Gee, Home Alone is a lot of fun, but what if the kid was psychotic and this film was way more violent?” Then The Aggression Scale might just be up your alley.

A ruthless mobster named Bellavance (Ray Wise) gets out of jail to find that $500,000 of his money is gone. So he sends a group of hitmen, led by Lloyd (Dana Ashbrook) to leave a trail of corpses until they find it. This lands them at the Rutledge home where newlyweds Bill (Boyd Kestner) and Maggie (Lisa Rotondi) have just moved in with their kids from previous marriages. Maggie’s daughter Lauren (Fabianne Therese) hates having to move to the middle of nowhere and Owen (Ryan Hartwig) is a mentally disturbed kid who doesn’t talk but creates blow dart guns with straws and sharpens his jacks on his free time.

Lloyd and his men think this is going to be just as easy as all the other people they’ve killed. But they have no idea how much trouble Owen is going to be for them. You pretty much know where the story is going to go from here. The thugs try to get the kids and Owen takes them down one by one.

The plot is a simple one but story is interesting enough to carry you through until the carnage begins. Even then, it’s not a non-stop blood bath. The film takes it’s time and builds up scene by scene, it lets each moment simmer before finally boiling over and man, is the last scene ruthless.

The acting across the board is okay. Ashbrook is the strongest of the adult actors. Lloyd isn’t the most interesting or well developed of mob thug characters but Ashbrook’s performances makes him interesting. However, it’s Hartwig that steals the show. Without a single line of dialog, Hartwig manages to carry this film. With a pensive glance or a sly smile you know exactly what Owen is thinking. Or at least you think you do. Owen is one twisted little kid and it’s fun to root him on as he out wits and kills all the thugs. Perhaps not always as clever as Kevin from Home Alone, but certainly far more brutal.


This film is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The production value on this film is solid and it looks and sounds really good. The colors are very crisp.

The Making of The Aggression Scale (15 min.) A typical making of. It isn’t going to change your mind about the film.

The Aggression Scale isn’t a great movie, but for a low budget action revenge film it’s pretty solidly entertaining. Ryan Hartwig is a great young actor and I can’t wait to see what his future holds for him. He has a lot of potential to grow and have a great career.

Anchor Bay Entertainment presents The Aggression Scale. Written by: Ben Powell. Directed by: Steven C. Miller. Starring: Ray Wise, Dana Ashbrook, Ryan Hartwig and Fabianne Therese. Running time: 85 min. Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and brief drug use. Released: May 29, 2012. Available at

Mike Noyes received his Masters Degree in Film from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. A few of his short films can be viewed here: He recently published his first novel which you can buy here: