Oh boy, a movie from the creator of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre himself, Tobe Hooper! Wait, it’s not Tobe Hooper? It’s Kim Henkel?
Butcher Boys was adapted by the guy who collaborated with Tobe Hooper on the story for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and also produced), and you’re going to market this as “From The Creator Of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”? Well, if that isn’t some deceptive tomfoolery…
Butcher Boys is one of those cannibalistic-type cult movies much like Delicatessen or Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, where the psychopaths view people as a source of income and food, except the work by Duane Graves and Justin Meeks is nowhere as entraining as the movies mentioned above, or most of the genre, for that matter. In an attempt to be some type of low-budget cult classic, a rotten, stinky script tries to hit upon the same type of crazy family dynamic as Leatherface’s crew, attempting to replicate the zany horror that comes from a family of colorful cannibals. It doesn’t work though, in the least, and we’re left watching some girl run around a desolate city for the first forty five minutes or so. Strap in, this is going to be a bumpy ride.
Butcher Boys starts out with a group of friends celebrating one member’s birthday, while a brother and sister duo attempt to deal with their friend’s whorish girlfriend. While driving home, they’re pursued by a car driven by two now angry boys, after the girlfriend starts a fight with them at a gas station, and the two boys end up killing a dog that belonged to a gang of modern-day greaser looking types. After killing the two canine murderers, the gang turns their attention on our birthday boy and his group, chasing them on foot through a small, empty town. When it gets down to it, only Sissy (Ali Faulkner) remains, after watching her brother be beaten to death, and it’s revealed that the gang has more than a taste for blood, making a killing off of human flesh.
The problem is, the beginning to Butcher Boys is so damn slow and ridiculous, playing the whole idea that this gang runs the streets, as even cops know better than to intervene in their tasty attacks. But without establishing any of the kids as actual characters, despite the fact that we had Sissy’s bitchy brother in the car, each death was pointless and emotionless, and extremely anticlimactic. These “Butchers” walked around like freakin’ Terminator robots, trying to be the faceless hardasses who can communicate through glances and nods, and it becomes a bit of a joke. Boy tries to save girlfriend, gets his ass kicked, lead “Butcher” looks at his bro, and the boy is punched to death. Move on, one less character to deal with.
But Butcher Boys isn’t about the first half, it’s more about getting to this secret location where people can feast on human meats, and starting some crazy “chosen one” arc with Sissy. She’s pure, she’s tasty, she’s a vegan, and for whatever reason, the Butchers need her around. That reason isn’t really ever fleshed out properly though, she tries to escape a few times, a crazy doctor wears a dress, and there’s a massive shootout outside. It’s like Kim Henkel picked up his favorite parts from certain cult movies, inserted them randomly, and then tried to stuff Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal into the cracks for some weight.
A movie should make us care whether our main characters live or die, and Butcher Boys fails miserable at that task. Every time Sissy attempted an escape, it was just another reason to cause havoc. Honestly, I was hoping for a death anyway, because that would have meant an end to this movie before we’re introduced to the main “businessmen,” or the men behind our brutish gang. There’s a bald boss, the wacky surgeon, a flamboyant elitist, and a chained up junkie who became too amped – whatever that means. Eventually, the surgeon appears wearing a dress, the monster (not really sure what to call it) gets free, and dysfunction reigns supreme – with no control. Who cares though, because by this point you’ve either fallen asleep or written off this messy meal altogether, as our film ends in an expectedly unappetizing fashion.
Butcher Boys is a lame attempt to recreate genre dynamics that have worked in the past, as there are definite shades of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to be found throughout Henkel’s script – delivered in amateur fashion. Our gang of black-clad brutes are cartoonish, their bosses are unjustifiably insane, our main characters have no purpose, and all the mythology is lost amidst a script that tries to be funny and grindhouse-y – failing miserably at both.
If Butcher Boys was a meal, I'd be sent right back to the kitchen for being underdone, sloppily assembled, creatively confusing, and horribly bland. Check, please!