Stephen Judd’s serial killer showdown, “The Butchers” takes a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek approach to bringing some of the world’s most notorious killers together on screen. The film stars Semi Anthony, Damien Puckler, Randall Bosley, Cameron Bowen, Braxton Davis, Mara Hall, Jacob Hobbs, Tonya Kay, Christy Keller, Charito Mertz, Milly Sanders, Ire Wardlaw. Also in the film are Rick Williamson, Hawk Walts, Mary LeGault, Marion Kopf, Gary Kasper, and John C. Epperson as the six serial killers [ Ed Gein, Albert Fish, John Wayne Gacy, Jack The Ripper, The Zodiac Killer, Jeffrey Dahmer]. The plot has the six killers coming to blows with a group of travelers whose bus breaks down outside of a ghost town turned tourist trap focusing on the life and crimes of these vicious serial killers. The crap goes down when Semi’s character, JB, sets out conjure the killers, whom he shares a kindred spirit with, then is interrupted by the arrival of the stranded group.
“The Butchers” has a creative concept going for it, bringing together these infamous killers. All of whom are just as likely to go for each other as the collection of victims thrown in their path. Judd plays up the fun side of horror with overdrawn characters that have no real dimension, acting only as meat for the grinder. The acting is as low budget as it gets in this sort of shtick, but there is no real attempt to pass the characters off as anything more so isn’t too annoying. There are a few actors that give decent performances and the direction Stephen Judd takes telling the story make it understood that this is cheap, sensationalized, slaughterfest fun.
The special effects are a blend of CGI and practical effects. The CGI is within reason and keeps focus on the occult aspects displayed. The majority of the kill scenes and gore are practical methods that, although on the cheaper side, work well to create some gruesome moments. The blood and guts of the horror elements are the real treat in this film. Some of the scenes actually come off better than other moments, even for a low budget film there is some pretty sweet moments in “The Butchers”. Just keep in mind this is a fun romp where carnage is king. Thankfully the dialog stays short and in context to the situation so I was able to enjoy the film more than I would if the writing required the actors to get theological, or wordy. The sound effects and overall atmosphere does good to keep the energy level up on “The Butchers” so I didn’t really feel any lag.
“The Butchers” is not a deep, witty, horror story. The film stays pretty straight horror, leaning toward a comedy edge. The real sell is the blood and gore which for a low budget film gives good gore. The highlight of this one is the killers themselves. On screen, as they clash with one another and the victims, the story becomes really entertaining. “The Butcher” may not appeal to all horror fans, mostly because of the simple story, cheap thrills and gimmicks, plus some of the effects fall short of when it comes to being effective. However, for what it is, this is a fun, entertaining indie horror worthy of a once over. There is a lot things that are disappointing, but there are also some moments that really shine.