BACKWOODS BUTCHERS DVD SET PART 3
Main Cast: Timothy Woodward Jr, D.J. Naylor
Director(s): Charles Stewart Jr., Sheila Brothers, Shaun O’Rourke
It wasn’t a great movie, I’m not saying that, but it had its moments and some standout qualities, like the script and acting. In fact, if anything in this movie held it back from reaching “really good” status, I’d have to say it was the directing. But the script and acting were alright.
The story is as simple as it gets. Five college friends, plus two tag-along girls, head out to a local island for the weekend, their last getaway before heading off in their separate directions. But this time, they’re not alone. A serial killer known as “The Butcher” has recently escaped and is hiding out on the island.
From there it’s formula city as the gang is taken out one by one, all leading up to what is supposed to be an exciting climax. And I’m sure on paper, it read much more tense than it was in the finished film. Again, I blame the direction.
Butchered boasts three screenwriters, not uncommon. But it also had three directors. WTF? Why does it take three people to direct a 70-minute movie? It doesn’t, and the fact this one had them just leaves us with a movie that feels uneven and constantly calls attention to its low budget.
It almost felt like they had one director for the character moments, another for the action scenes and the third was in charge of the “horror” elements. Unfortunately, the director in charge of the horror had only ever seen super cheap homemade horror movies and thought that’s how it’s done.
As for the rest, I was surprised at how much information the script packed into such a short run-time, especially considering once the action with the Butcher starts, all character development is brought to a halt and it’s just these characters trying to survive on a finite island with a killer before help can arrive. But there is backstory galore here, and we get a lot of it, and not in a cheap info dump exposition scene, but naturally, through the interaction between the characters. I really liked it.
And the actors themselves had such a natural friendly quality about them, as if they all really had been together since second grade. Timothy Woodward Jr, especially, struck me as super likable and relatable. Maybe it was the genuine southern accent (Woodward Jr hails from South Carolina where, I believe, the movie is set. If not there, somewhere close; it’s definitely a southern state), or maybe it was the development of his character, Dylan, but I have zero complaints about the scenes where he and the rest if the cast are just hanging out and doing nothing. They were a pretty easy bunch to “hang out with” for half the movie.
In the end, while I dug a lot of this movie, it was those horror scenes, you know the ones I mean where the killer sneaks up behind someone and strikes with an ax to the back, but the camera cuts away a little too soon, then we see an impossibly large blood amount of blood “splatter”, AKA thrown from a bucket, onto some flat surface IN FRONT OF the character who just took an ax to the back. Apparently the laws of physics don’t apply in low budget slasher movies?
Either way, it was stuff like that that drove me crazy and diminished what could otherwise have been a fairly enjoyable movie experience. Still, if a sequel showed up some time, I’d definitely give it a shot. Butchered may not have been “great”, but it was alright.
C. Dennis Moore is the author of over 60 published short stories and novellas in the speculative fiction genre. Most recent appearances were in the Dark Highlands 2, What Fears Become, Dead Bait 3 and Dark Highways anthologies. His novels are Revelations, and the Angel Hill stories, The Man in the Window, The Third Floor, The Ghosts of Mertland and The Flip. He is writing another Angel Hill novel called Return to Angel Hill with co-author David Bain.