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, international predators who deal in human flesh dead or alive. From the creator of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre comes this gut wrenching, non-stop roller coaster ride through the hellish underbelly of inner city America
Written and produced by Kim Henkel, the creator of the horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and originally intended to be a direct sequel to the original film before it was decided to create a new franchise out of the the story, Butcher Boys Plays out as a remake / retooling of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but with an urban twist. I suppose you could say it’s a spin off as there are a few references to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise contained in the film. The switching of settings from dusty back hills landscape to concrete jungle is an interesting concept and one that feels quite fresh. The backdrops of side alleys and empty streets create a dark and intense atmosphere throughout and adds a bit of realism. This is further developed with the protagonists who consist of a bunch of well groomed street rats (with the ring leader looking a bit similar to Patrick Bateman) who could easily blend into obscurity in todays society. Unfortunately instead of trying make this gang terrifying, they come across as unpleasant and brutal, relying on obscenities and looking really mean which makes the film lose the edge that the Sawyer clan originally gave back in 1974. When the viewer is greeted with the extended family that lives underground, the similarities with Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with a sprinkle of Hostel themed underground business, does become apparent (even including a role that basically clones Dennis Hopper’s role from the sequel). The final act of the does come across as over the top and undoes the intense opening act. If they had left it as a group of urban cannibals running the streets, it would something quite special.
Butcher Boys was filmed digitally and is presented on DVD with a MPEG2 576i codec framed at it’s original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. A very dark film throughout relying on limited lighting source to show the action, it’s a sharp transfer throughout and doesn’t loose too much picture information in the darkness. Colours were muted due to the cinematography but what was on display held up pretty well. Due to it being a recent digital production, grain was non-existent and had a slick digital video look to it.
Butcher Boys slashes it’s way to DVD with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix that is quite impressive. Whilst it may not be quite as aggressive as some of the bigger budget horror films, the music creates an atmosphere throughout the film and makes use of the multi channel setup. Dialogue is clean and discrete. Surround use is limited but blends in nicely to the mix when used.
Trailer (01:54) – The films theatrical trailer is the only feature on the disc
An interesting watch but sadly failed to deliver after a somewhat decent first act. Kim Henkel’s latest work does create something special and unique but towards the end it just retreads old ground which is a shame. Disc wise it’s pretty good with a sharp video transfer and some decent atmospheric effects thanks to the music. Personally I would of liked to have seen a bit more in the bonus section.