Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Butchers

My notes on Butchers

The prologue of this film has pretty much everything I never need to see in a horror film again – a woman (Samantha De Benedet) snatched on the road by demented farm folk, chained and hung up in a barn, given a ‘this is how it’s going to be speech’ that reduces her to a commodity and then, after a match cut conveying seasonal change, pregnant and dirty and kept in a chicken coop.  Seriously, filmmakers – learn a new tune.  And, festival programmers … you don’t have to show every chained-and-raped movie on offer.

It doesn’t improve much after the credits.  In the late 1990s, four young folks in a car stall in the vicinity of the farm run by chatty Owen (Simon Phillips) and goonish Oswald (Michael Swatton).  The kids are waylaid and go through the usual sub-Texas Chain Saw stuff, with an especial emphasis on Owen explaining that women (whom he keeps calling pieces of meat) should know their place and he’ll shoot or hack bits off them for every discipline infraction.  The kids are having snits about infidelity which in no way deepen their characters, and too many cliché situations are ticked off … when the girls (Julie Mainville, Anne-Carolyne Binette) escape, will the first person they run into on the road turn out to be in with the crazy family? … is that really a hog grunting behind clapboards in the barn? …

Director Adrian Langley, who co-wrote with Daniel Weissenberger, throws in a few bits of eccentricity (one butcher coaching another through a Hamlet soliloquy) and frames some nice widescreen landscapes, but also defaults to how mean-spirited-can-you-get turns of plot.  By now, more wearisome than shocking.



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