The Butcher (2009) – By Brian Morton

When I get an Asian movie in my inbox, I’m usually giddy with excitement. After all, only Asian movies can deliver the kind of weirdness that really makes me remember a movie, after all, where else can someone envision a girl with a chainsaw for a hand and make it a great movie…only in the Far East! So, when I got the Korean movie, The Butcher, my shirt didn’t touch my back as I ran to the DVD player! But, this time, I have to admit to some disappointment.

When the movie opens, four people are being held in a rundown slaughterhouse, all are bound and all have weird headgear on, which are cameras that they’re wearing. We meet the filmmakers, there’s the director and his assistant, and they keep referring to someone else called The Pig. They divide the foursome into two pairs, to make the filming easier for them, and then two are hauled away, apparently to where the Pig is…shortly after that, the director disappears and we hear a bunch of screaming…and I mean a bunch…and it goes on for quite a while! Then, the director reappears, takes a phone call from his mother about going to church, and then orders the other two victims…the ones whose perspective we’ve been watching from…into the room with the Pig! Once in that room, the horror begins, the pig is a giant dude with a pig mask and apparently he enjoys killing people, and it’s up to the director to tell him how to kill the people he brings in. And, that’s pretty much the movie, we’re watching from the perspective of a married couple as the director plays a violent little game with the husband, with the promise to save his wife, and soon the blood begins to flow…which is, after all, the whole point of this movie.

The Butcher is a movie of a totally different kind, and when I say that, I really mean it. And, it’s not just Asian, weird different, this one is even stranger than that. The Butcher is the story of the making of a snuff film, and it’s all told with Point Of View cameras. The victims have cameras on their heads, the killers carry cameras and there are cameras mounted around the abandoned slaughterhouse where the movie takes place, so we get plenty of perspective, but not a ton of narrative…which I think is the idea, I think the filmmakers were going for something intimate and disturbing, by bringing us into the position of the victims in a snuff movie.

But, that’s also where it falls apart, because we have no background on the victims, we don’t really identify with any of them, and so the horror doesn’t really flow from there. And the ‘filmmakers’ are such generic horror stereotypes that you really can’t even get into rooting for them, so we, the actual audience, have no leg to stand on here! I’m giving The Butcher two out of four cigars, if you were a fan of Hostel, then you’re liable to love this, but if you thought Hostel was a bit short on story…then you’re going to hate The Butcher, there’s even less of a storyline going on here! You can grab a copy for yourself by heading over to the Anchor Bay web site.