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Butcher Boys (2013): Small Ones Are Sweeter

Butcher Boys (Duane Graves and Justin Meeks, 2012)

A close-up of a mouth getting ready to bite into a half-eaten hand adorns the movie poster.

Best when organic.
photo credit: IMDB

I spend a decent amount of time trolling the bottom of my sorted (by average rating) Netflix queue, looking for those movies that have a horrible rating that are actually pretty good. I’ve come across a few here and there that are neglected for whatever reason. The Butcher Boys, Texas Chainsaw Massacre writer Kim Henkel’s first feature script in eighteen years, is the latest of those. I have no idea what movie the public who rated this movie a collective one and a half stars were watching, but it must not have been Butcher Boys.

One of the butcher boys and the family doctor get ready to check if a potential victim is prime, select, or choice in a still from the film.

“On the upside, it’s not Jeremy Irons down here…”
photo credit: horrorpedia.com

Plot: Sissy (Breaking Dawn‘s Ali Faulkner) is celebrating her seventeenth birthday at a swanky restaurant in Austin, Texas, that’s under protest by a band of radical vegetarians. (While I can’t tell you why without spoilers, this becomes important later.) When she, her brother Mikey (Dear Sidewalk‘s Philip Wolf), and their friends Barbie (The Big Picture‘s Tory Tompkins) and Benny (Hallettsville‘s Derek Lee Nixon) are on their way home, a series of minor misadventures end up with them crossing paths with the Butcher Boys (also known as the Boneboys, which was the film’s original title), who are out for the kind of good time that involves kidnapping random folks and taking them back to the basement of Austin’s hottest new restaurant, J. Swift’s.

Ali Faulkner sits down to a familiar dinner in a still from the film.

“OKAY, OKAY! If you want me to do Marilyn Burns, I’ll do Marilyn Burns!”
photo credit: best-horror-movies.com

Okay, the movie’s main drawback is very easy to point out, and is just as minor as it sounds: this movie contains two of the worst body-double shots in cinema history. If you combine the two, they take up less than a second of screen time, so that can’t be what everyone’s up in arms about. And the movie certainly does have its reliance on Henkel’s older, far better-known script; before I realized Henkel had written it, I was planning on giving them a few snaps up for nailing modern takes on certain classic TCM scenes (the dinner, especially). They still deserve it. There are a few times this feels like “what The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would have been like if it had been written as a comedy”; given the popularity, if not the quality, of the movie’s many sequels (and a remake or two that took that tack), it’s not a bad idea. IMDB’s trivia section mentions that this was originally Henkel’s script for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, but he pulled it out and re-worked it with the aim of turning The Butcher Boys into a new franchise. That, too, is deserved; given a little time and room to grow, this might grow away from its ancestor and become something even better than it is now. It’s still singing in someone else’s voice, but the lyrics are pretty darn good so far. *** ½


Trailer.

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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