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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Review: Butchers

Director: Adrian Langley

Screenplay: Adrian Langley and Daniel Weissenberger

Year: 2021

A group of teenagers is attacked in a rural area by some locals that seem to have the intention of eating them. How many times have we seen this in horror cinema? And how about if some of the most successful movies on this topic are combined, such as  “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “The Hills Have Eyes”, and “Wrong Turn”, but you take the best parts out? Well, basically you are left with “Butchers”.

A family of sadistic butchers has found refuge in the depths of the countryside. A group of teenagers driving through the area suffers some mechanical issues and looks for help from the locals. They soon discover that the people who live there don't want to help them but rather kill them.

Let's start with the fact that the movie presents two instances in which some young guys suffer a mechanical issue in the same area, and they are at the mercy of the butchers. The mechanical problems are not even orchestrated; instead, they are purely coincidental. This detail would have been enough evidence to conclude that the script was not well polished, but screenwriters Adrian Langley (“Crook”) and Daniel Weissenberger give us more material to strengthen that observation.

During the first half of the movie, I felt that my experience with horror movies was finally paying dividends because I could predict everything that was happening in the plot with the precision of a meat cleaver. Soon I realized that this was not the reason, and instead, the story is so predictable that it is more complicated to get it wrong than right. And what if you are a gorehound that doesn’t care much about the plot if it has some bloody scenes? Well, I'm sorry to say that it doesn't do a good job in this department either, as most of the violence and gore is suggested and takes place outside of the screen. 

The acting and direction is a mixed bag of lights and shadows. About half of the actors manage to represent their characters well, considering that the material they had to work with was not of great quality. The other half’s work goes from bad to shameful and it is hard to distinguish if it is the actors, the script, or the director’s fault, or a combination of the three. 

“Butchers” is clearly influenced by the horror movie classics in the topic of locals from a rural area that presumably are cannibals and kill teenagers. But instead of being an homage to these movies, it serves as a reminder that this has been done way too many times. On top of that, if the story is too simple, and you take away all the things that made these movies great and visually stimulating, you end up with a mediocre and predictable movie.

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