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Friday, September 6, 2013

Butcher Boys (2012) Review - The Urban Texas Chainsaw Massacre Has Arrived

The writer and producer of 2003's Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake wrote Butcher Boys from Phase 4 Films. While I was aware of that fact before watching Butcher Boys as just a fleeting thought in my mind, it actually becomes relevant information now that I have had the opportunity to enjoy it. With Jason Voorhees headed off to space some years back in Jason X and Freddy getting his New Nightmare facelift that took him out of the pictures and into meta horror history, I always wondered when the family of Texas Chainsaw Massacre would make a leap to a new locale. While Texas Chainsaw 3D may have reinvented the franchise, it basically stuck to the familiar format of hack and slash films with a twist. Now before everyone gets up in arms, NO, this isn't a remake, re-imagining of or have any relationship to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I do think that the Butcher Boys, the gang of off-the-map, savagely insane, urban hillbilly degenerates remind me a whole lot of several of the characters from the TCM franchise. So I like to subtitle Butcher Boys, The Urban Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It's certainly not meant as a stab or poke at the film.

SYNOPSIS (from Phase 4 Films):

A birthday celebration at an upscale restaurant sets in motion events that bring a group of friends face to face with the macabre world of cannibals, the Butcher Boys. The Butcher Boys are international predators who deal in human ­flesh - dead or alive.

Also here's the trailer (which may giveaway too much for the viewer who wants to be surprised):


So yeah, there's a cannibal element to it, and that in and of itself does not make it a Texas Chainsaw Massacre esque film. It's the personalities that evolve out of several characters. Each one seems to adopt a familiar archetype portrayed in the TCM series. The zany hitchhiker. Chop Top. Drayton Sawyer, even a crazed monster, deformed juggernaut who could be considered the film's Leatherface... they're all there with different clothes, accents and modus operandi. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed the film so much. Butcher Boys takes itself very seriously at first, and before long it drops you off into a Wonderland of your nightmares filled with  ghoulish delights, gore and a final girl trudging through some very dark set pieces that hide all the right stuff forcing the viewers imagination to get jumpy. 

Butcher Boys has plenty of gore, but you'll have to wait for it. I urge you not to turn it off if you want a solid gut fest. The story builds as the aforementioned friends gradually realize just what kind of Hell they've accidentally thrust themselves into. This gives time for characters to evolve and for the proper sympathies to be achieved. I like ali Faulkner in the lead. She's got a pistol attitude and tremendous fight in her. Excellent casting. Hope to see her in future horror and genre related pictures. Even Marilyn Burns shows up (star of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre).

Directors Duane Graves and Justin Meeks didn't reinvent the wheel when they made Butcher Boys, but they did take the wheel off the tractor and roll it into the city. It's an effective, entertaining blood and popcorn movie with moments of suspense and scare. There's enough of the red stuff to keep the average horror fan happy and even a few choice skin shots. Don't let that fool you. This is as fun as your mind will let it be before it becomes disturbing. Butcher Boys may not before the squeamish. Fans of the remake of the TCM should enjoy this. It certainly isn't Critters 3. Remember when the Krites went to the big city? Not that movie. 

BUTCHER BOYS in theaters on Friday, September 6th. If it's playing in a theater near you I strongly urge you to entertain yourself with some dark, gushy horror.

-Dr. TERROR

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