Bullying is a hot-button issue that can be linked to dozens of other problems in this world. Besides the cliché therapist phrases, (“But how does the bullying make you feel?” “Can you channel your anger elsewhere other than punching kids’ faces in?”) we can’t go a day in this country without hearing about another tragic story regarding someone being attacked, verbally or physically, for the most ridiculous of reasons. But the harsh reality is that the problem of bullying among peers is rabid, and growing. The problem is real, and needs to be spoken about. And that is exactly what writer/director Jason Hawkins attempts to do with All American Bully, starring Daren Ackerman, Alexander Fraser and Friday the 13th’s Adrienne King.
The film follows a group of three friends – Devon, Becky and Garrett – as they go through a pretty recognizable scenario of the indoor kids getting beat on by the neighborhood delinquents. When the trio is attacked by the woods by John (Ackerman) and Devon’s book is taken, the beating is recorded for all the world to see. When Devon’s father tries to impart the concept of using brains over brawn, the friends begin planning on fighting fire with fire with their own video. They never could have dreamed what revenge would bring about, though.
What is great about All American Bully is addressing that an eye for an eye is not necessarily the right way to go for problem resolution. By attacking the bully, one becomes the bully, and that makes the whole act moot. It’s dangerous to feed the beast. The production is modest, but is carried by the great relationships between the characters both friend and foe. Adrienne King makes a rare appearance as Principal King, the head of the school who somehow always misses the brutality inflicted upon our protagonists. She is magnetic to watch, and although the size of her part makes sense, you still would love to see her do more.
The pace on All American Bully is slow, and although you can see what they are going for with said pace it comes off as less calculating and more just plain slow. That being said, issues are brutally dealt with and even with the film’s indie budget the message comes across quite clearly. This is a movie in the horror realm that may not be a gory joyride for more happy-go-lucky film fans, but should be a movie that when seen is discussed into the wee small hours.
All American Bully is available on DVD as well as at Redbox. Be sure to reserve your copy today.