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Directed by Edward Gorsuch
Written by Ellis Walker
Starring Catherine Wreford, Tom Nagel, Myiea Coy, Alan Ritchson
Produced by Michael Feifer
If you happen to be in the mood for nothing special, if you find yourself in the midst of the video store looking to not be challenged, or not have anything new to deal with, or nothing in particular to be scared by, but you just want a big loud gory romp with a plot so antique it could be featured on PBS, then go ahead, and grab that copy of “The Butcher” off the shelf.
So what we have here plotwise is six college students stranded on the road. In the middle of the night. Following a car accident. Yeah, you can already tell what’s going to happen here, now can’t you? They’re going to find an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of the night because their cell phones don’t work in the middle of nowhere they’ve found themselves in (though as it turns out, no one seems to have brought one along with them for a change), and the abandoned farmhouse in question isn’t as abandoned as anyone thought it was. Because the owner is a crazy homicidal weapon-wielding maniac prepared to turn them all into an assortment of chewy bite-sized pieces, possibly to eat them.
If it sounds familiar, it’s because it is.
Right down to the multiple lesbian makeout sessions in the first five minutes. And the incredible display of driving idiocy that leads them to become stranded in the first place. And an even better display of idiocy that allows the first death by overhanging tree branch to the solar plexus to take place in the first TEN minutes.
Despite the sheer familiarity of “The Butcher,” I do have to admit that I’ve never seen this much idiocy in one movie. Every stupid thing these half-dozen morons could rally together, they do. They flash and taunt the serial killer. They drive around with people stuck out of sunroofs. They get blind drunk immediately after the first person gets killed.
And then, at the twenty one minute twenty two second mark, the biggest insult to our intelligence comes into play so far when Mark, one of the main idiots, says: “Don’t you watch scary movies? Bad shit always happens inside the creepy farmhouse.” Not only does the movie know that it makes use of every threadbare cliché the horror movie genre has to offer, it also has the gigantic brass ones to tell us about them!
What clichés, you might ask? Well, despite the ones I’ve already laid out, how about portraying the sheer balls-out idiocy of sticking around a seemingly-abandoned farmhouse after a girl with no tongue cuts her wrists on a bottle just so she can write “hell” on the nearest wall in big bloody letters? Catch that little beauty at the twenty nine minute twenty second mark.
Or the inspired stupidity of running into the killer’s house at thirty eight minutes seven seconds.
Although, and I will give them some begrudging respect after the thirty eight minute seven second mark, I have seen very few scenarios where the killer is actually locked out of his house. Though they don’t manage to do very well with this surprising advantage…
And for once, in a surprisingly strange twist, the cops aren’t actually complicit with the family of lunatics living out in the middle of nowhere. Usually, that’s the so-called twist—that the cops are working with or otherwise related to the killers, but this time, the cops actually aren’t related.
The ending is home to a couple clever twists, and a couple of decent-sized plot holes, but nothing worth writing home about.
The special features include English and Spanish subtitles, and trailers for “Komodo Vs. Cobra,” “After Sundown,” and “Santeria: The Soul Possessed.”
All in all, “The Butcher” accomplishes nothing new, but does it in a fashion that’s at least passable. It’s worth your time to pick it up, but only if you’re not looking for anything special.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
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