Film Review: The Butcher (2007)

Warning: The reviewed film is so stupid and poorly made that a potential viewer must not approach the content lightly. Caution must be exercised to preserve your brain power.

Even with the diminished expectations that come from a fake snuff film, The Butcher serves as an example of everything that can possibly go wrong in modern low budget horror. Four average citizens are kidnapped, gagged, chained, and fitted with helmet-cameras for their direct to video debut as victims in a snuff film. The film randomly jumps from the perspective of the director and staff to the victims. The camera inexplicably shakes as if anyone with a viewfinder is constantly seizing. The quality is grainy, the color washed out, and the sets as drab as oatmeal on dry white toast.

Anyone going into a fake snuff film knows not to expect high production values. But there is a difference between a film with a shoestring budget and a film that doesn't know what it's doing. The Butcher is clearly the latter. From the quality of sound to the believability of the effects, the film fails at every possible angle of technique. I'm almost willing to say the film would have been improved if they left the lens caps on and forgot to turn on the mics.

It's almost impossible to review a film like The Butcher. There is a clear audience for this type of film and they only care about the gore, not the film quality. Even at this The Butcher fails. The effects are cut away from with a jump to a different camera every time something interesting happens. The most you see is a puddle of blood or low-rent bruising/cuts in a reflection. I normally am against gratuitous unjustified gore, but in this sub-genre that's the name of the game. If nothing else, the room should be a hazard to the actors from the amount of goo pumped onto the floor. Karo syrup and food coloring aren't so expensive as to require a delicate hand and moderation. Toss in some dish soap and clean-up is no longer an issue.

Perhaps most offensive of all is the ending. The implausibility reaches unforetold heights as the conceit of the production of a snuff film told from multiple perspectives is rendered impossible by the last ten minutes. If the footage primarily used during the film is removed from the rest of the footage, how can it possibly have been pieced together for what the viewer sees? It can't. I'm willing to accept a pig-masked muscle-man raping his victims in any hole, natural or carved out, in a warehouse with big open windows completely surrounded by a business district, but I can't get past this ending.

Even die-hard snuff fans should avoid this film. There's a reason the film lacks DVD distribution: it doesn't deserve it. I can't imagine what possessed Netflix to carry it at all.