Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
Duane Graves, Justin Meeks
Sonny Carl Davis
What's it about
Some teenagers run afoul of a cabal of inner city psychopathic cannibals.
Is it good movie?
When Sissy agreed to accompany her brother to his friend's 17th birthday dinner, she never expected to be running for her life by its end. But that's what happens when Barbie, the birthday boy's unstable girlfriend, gets them in trouble with some kids at a convenience store. During a high speed car chase from them, the whole group then gets in Dutch with some LOST BOYS-looking dudes who apparently run the inner city, including the cops. After killing off the whole crew save Sissy, the Boys kidnap her instead, for some as yet unspoken, nefarious purpose.
By this point I was already pretty irritated with this film. The plot is pretty thin, and the action was filled out with lots of scenes of the kids being chased around and sought out in various alleys and a dilapidated factory of some sort. This is a pretty typical horror film approach, but I didn't find any of the characters engaging or even slightly interesting, so I felt tedium instead of tension. Plus, the Boys were pretty hammy, which made me scoff rather than fear them. I also found the chase and fight scenes to be kind of clumsy, and while I can make allowances for a clearly low-budget film, it still further kept me from getting invested in the action.
But I really started to tune out once Sissy is taken to the Boys lair, and meets their bosses: an over the top campy collection of men, including teeth-gnashing monster man; a grizzled doctor; a grumpy old man who yells a lot; and a fastidious, suave type cat. After much yelling and scenery-chewing, we finally learn that these dudes are all sadists and cannibals, offering an *ahem* exotic menu to a select clientele. And once again, the action is filled out with yet even more scenes of Sissy being chased, caught, escaping, chased again, etc., and having interactions with various unhinged maniacs (causing me to mash my hand against the FFWD button on my remote).
It's all very late-model TCM, which is no surprise considering it is a retro-fit from a script originally meant to be that film's sequel, by TCM writer Kim Henkel. I assume the villains' mugging and chasing her around was meant to be campy, but camp is a fine line, and in this case, for me, it squarely fell on the annoying side. But then again, I really don't care for any of the TCM sequels either, so it's sort of a foregone conclusion that I'd similarly dislike this film.
There is also some business of these guys being interested in Sissy's lady business, but not in the typical way: more like in a you should have a baby way, which I guess is why IMDb lists the film as being an adaptation of Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, where he suggests poor people sell their children as food. But whereas A Modest Proposal is a deadpan satire of society's denigration of the poor, BUTCHER BOYS is just a lame rehash of the TCM sequels. See it if you must, but don't say you haven't been warned.
Video / Audio
There are some okay SFX gags in this movie, as well as numerous TCM franchise alumni popping up here and there, but mostly it is a thin story filled out with copious establishing shots and chase scenes. It also has that clumsy feel of a film with not enough pre-production and rehearsal time. It's pretty much just a rehash of previous films with nothing new or interesting to set it apart. Safe to avoid.