BBFC Classification: 18
Directors: Duane Graves, Justin Meeks
Starring: Ali Faulkner, Johnny Walter, Derek Lee Nixon, Phillip Wolf
Kim Henkel is a man in need of a new direction. Yes, he was one half of the creative team behind the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and has had a hand in some way in all of the subsequent sequels and remakes, but let us not forget he was also responsible for writing and directing the abomination that is Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, a film that is universally loathed and despised by even the hardiest of slasher film apologists.
So now we have Butcher Boys, a film written by Henkel and directed by two of his former students at the university where he lectures on screenwriting – you may wish to pause on that last sentence and let the information sink in a bit. You see, Butcher Boys is a movie that, on paper, should work – a film with a group of twisted killers, cannibals, nudity, gore and having Kim Henkel on board would look very attractive to a pair of young filmmakers, especially when you can secure the services of a couple of TCM alumni as well, including Marilyn Burns and Edwin Neal, but having ‘From the Writer/Producer of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre‘ on the poster for your film isn’t quite the badge of honour that it may have been thirty years ago. You only have to look at the tepid rubbish that Henkel’s TCM co-writer Tobe Hooper has put his name to over the years to figure that out.
Anyway, in Butcher Boys a group of teens fall foul of a gang of sadistic cannibal killers known as the Boneboys, who pursue the hapless kids around for a bit before some even weirder characters turn up and the whole thing climaxes in a bizarre gathering of psychopaths and vegetarians. That may look like a crass plot description but that really is all there is to it, so how come nobody thought to concentrate on the details, seeing as there wasn’t much of a story to shape?
Details such as having characters that you actually want to survive, which is probably rule number one when it comes to horror films. All of the teenagers are completely despicable and have nothing remotely sympathetic going on for you to grasp onto, making the killers become the ones to root for as at least they have the privilege of doing away with the whining irritants. However, the killers are equally bland and unremarkable, dressed up as ’50s greasers to no doubt add a bit of style but so nondescript they all blend into one angry and shouty entity.
It isn’t fair to totally trash something without mentioning anything positive and Butcher Boys does have some pretty good gore effects, which straightaway puts it ahead of TCM: The Next Generation as far as a comparison goes, but that is it. The acting is amateurish, the script painful (“I was going to blow you all but you can forget that now”) and the less said about the ending the better. Texas Chainsaw 3D may have rubbed many people up the wrong way simply by existing but Butcher Boys makes that film look like the 1974 original. It is fairly obvious that Henkel had penned this to be another sequel to TCM and apparently re-wrote it to become another franchise so with that in mind and based on this film, it may be time for Mr. Henkel to have a bit of a rethink.
Special Features: Trailer
UK Release Date: 24th March 2014