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Arrow Video FrightFest October 2020: ‘Butchers’ review

Four friends break down and find themselves targeted by sadistic brothers.

Jenna (Jenna Simpson) asks her boyfriend Mike (James Hicks) and friends Taylor (Anne-Carolyne Binette) and Chris (Frederik Storm) to accompany her on a road trip for her birthday. Along the way their car breaks down and they find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. As Mike and Taylor go looking for help, Jenna and Chris stay in the car but all four become prey for two sadistic brothers who kidnap and torture anyone that passes their way.

If the plot of ‘Butchers’ sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a concept and story that’s been done to death in the horror genre. ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Wrong Turn’ are just two films that come to mind that did this exact story better. ‘Butchers’ ticks off every single trope you’d expect and it doesn’t seem to mind its own unoriginality.

Had the film got any likeable characters, it may have fared better but it doesn’t. We don’t get to know a whole lot about our good-looking main characters other than two of them are having an affair so there’s little to make you care about them. As you can likely predict from the plot summary at the start of this review, ‘Butchers’ does exactly what you think it’ll do – puts beautiful young people in increasingly more violent and disturbing situations.

Butchers
Credit: Sharp Teeth Films

The antagonists – Owen (Simon Phillips) and Oswald (Michael Swatton) Watson – are stereotypes from the genre and there’s nothing that sets them apart from the killers of any other film of this nature. They are predictably backwards, with one brother less intelligent than the other, and it’s no surprise that every other character you meet outside of them and the main group is up to no good too. Even a ‘twist’, if you can call it that, at the end doesn’t save this film from being far too familiar to the films that have inspired it.

The most frustrating thing about ‘Butchers’ is the complete lack of any story. Outside of the group breaking down, we don’t delve deep enough into any aspect. There’s no backstory or explanation from the brothers’ behaviour, and the main characters are purely there as fodder to be killed. Even the ending leaves you feeling underwhelmed and I actually found myself saying out loud, ‘what was the point?’

If you’ve seen no other films like this one, then you’ll like ‘Butchers’ and probably find it quite a tense horror with some seriously violent moments. Anyone who has seen films like this will find it an unnecessary rehash of much better films. I’d recommend you just put on ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ as you’ll have a more enjoyable time.

Cast: Simon Phillips, Michael Swatton, Julie Mainville, Anne-Carolyne Binette, James Hicks, Frederik Storm Director: Adrian Langley Writers: Adrian Langley & Daniel Weissenberger Certificate: 18 Duration: 93 mins Released by: Sharp Teeth Films

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