Review by Jason Howard
Lead Entertainment Writer
Stay bold and tasty, Pony Boy…
Butcher Boys is a new cannibal flick from Kim Henkel, writer of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In actuality, it bears more resemblance to Chainsaw 2 (which Henkel was not involved in), The Outsiders, and 1993’s Judgment Night (a movie that NO ONE will admit having involvement in).
A group of friends are out on the town for a birthday when they run afoul of some not so nice people. They book it through a seedy part of town in an attempt to escape and wind running into a group of cannibals and killing their dog (the most sympathetic death in a movie filled with non-sympathetic characters). Needless to say, this does not sit well with the cannibals (hey, they were gonna eat that) and it sets off a nighttime race for their life.
There are certainly a couple of interesting elements that add to the charm of this movie. Firstly, the cannibals have the appearance of having just been initiated and rejected into S.E. Hinton’s greaser gang from The Outsiders. It’s nice to know that history books are wrong and all cannibals are NOT inbred hillbillies. The fact that it was an unnecessary touch makes it all the more unique and effective.
Also of note, the movie credits itself as being based upon A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. While this could only be considered an adaptation in the loosest of terms, a lot of cleverness of the script pokes it’s head through when you keep this adaptation claim in the back of your mind and start to pick up on some small details (unless I imagined them, of course). Lastly, the movie has a healthy dose of humor (particularly in the second half) that recalls the aforementioned Chainsaw 2 (my personal favorite of the franchise) that goes a long way to temper the negatives…
Speaking of the negatives – there is a lot of running and chasing in this movie. A lot. Unfortunately, there is just not enough ‘catching’ to make the running completely worth your time. It’s often said that the journey can be more rewarding than the destination, but that generally only applies when the journey has an end. In this case, it feels at time as if the running is there to make of for a lack of story ideas. It’s a shame really, because the script is the best thing the film has going for it, so more trust in the storytelling would have been welcome. Lastly, the effects work and acting were serviceable, but nothing special (as previously mentioned, the characters are not particularly likeable).
JASON’S FINAL THOUGHTS:
Another romp with a group of cannibals, Butcher Boys is entertaining and quirky at times, but falls short of being a full course meal (had to be done). Good for a light snack if you’re a Texas Chain Saw fan, but nothing that you should rush out to sink your teeth into. But, it is refreshing to see a film that will FINALLY avoid drawing the ire of the NARHCA (North American Redneck Hillbilly Cannibalistic Association), as once you have the NARHCA on your back, your film has no chance of succeeding. Mildly recommended.
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