Review: Butcher Boys / Cert: 18 / Director: Duane Graves, Justin Meeks / Screenplay: Kim Henkel / Starring: Ali Faulkner, Johnny Walter, Derek Lee Nixon / Release Date: Out Now
The writer of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has rehashed the premise and liberally sprinkled a dose of Jonathan Swift's classic satire A Modest Proposal (it even opens with a quote), although the result lacks both the wit and abject terror of both.
A group of friends, out celebrating a birthday, end up in the wrong side of San Antonio and fall foul of a team of brutal cannibals. Sissy (Faulkner) manages to escape and is chased through the streets, and finally, their lair. But she is to find their plan is much more diabolical and nasty than just rape and murder.
Henkel obviously struck gold with his original TCM script, but there's no real excuse for lazily going back to the well, particularly when any point you are trying to make is lost in a fury of dizzying chases and not-as-nasty-as-it-wants-to-be violence. It's not that it's badly made; the action is almost non-stop and there's no shortage of threat. It's just there's also zero characterisation and almost no attempt to explain or delve deeper into why and how this group of reprobates managed to become feared by even the local police and gangbangers. Nor why there is a crazed mutant behemoth of a man chained up and drooling in the group's dining hall or why their 'doctor' is running around in a dress. If you can overlook the intricacies that the film lacks, it's a mildly entertaining, if brain-dead, ride which hits all the familiar beats, even in its bat-shit crazy climax. Although it is nice to hear some Bach, Grieg and Verdi in there and it's mildly amusing to try to spot the cameos from several TCM alumni, it may not fully satisfy the gorehounds and due to the lack of depth, fails to be a truly effective horror film.