BUTCHERS is a classic horror movie in the slasher subgenre. Sure, the plot might feel very familiar, but that isn’t always a bad thing. This new horror slasher from Canada is out On-Demand now. Read our full Butchers movie review here!

BUTCHERS is a new horror movie from Canada and we’re dealing with the straight-up slasher niche.

If you’ve seen any horror movie, then you know that if your car breaks down on a country road and your cellphone is dead (or nonexistent) that, well, you know the rest…

Continue reading our Butchers movie review to find out if this movie is for you.

The Beginning of the End

Filmed in Ontario, Canada, Butchers opens with Owen (Simon Phillips) and Oswald Watson (Michael Swatton) burying their deceased mother near their backcountry home in the dead of winter, when they witness Steven’s and Celeste’s car break down on the nearby country road.

The sadism underlying Owen’s response to this development (“Well, that’s interesting”), almost as if it is the brothers’ “lucky day”, does well to set the tone for the remainder of the film.

Divided into three chapters, “The Beginning of the End,” “The Middle of Nowhere,” and “The End is Here”, Butchers then fast-forwards to summer, revealing that the Watsons had captured, raped, and impregnated Celeste (Samantha De Benedet), whose acceptance of her apparent fate is so raw and real that you can almost taste the helplessness and despair that she is forbidden to verbalize (hats off to De Benedet).

On the same country road, another car breaks down, carrying Jenna (Julie Mainville), Taylor (Anne-Carolyne Binette), Mike (James Hicks), and Christopher (Frederik Storm). True to form, these four then encounter the Watson brothers, their twisted charades, their stain on humanity, and their self-induced, blood-soaked hell-on-earth.

Butchers (2020) – Horror Movie Review

The Middle of Nowhere

Being in “the middle of nowhere” is creepy. Some films effectively capture this (e.g., Blair Witch Project, The Ritual, Willow Creek). Others have not (e.g., Nightlight, Wrong Turn).

Primarily driven by Phillips’s Owen and Swatton’s Oswald, Butchers finds itself between these extremes. Imagine Phillips’ Owen as a sadistic Tucker-and-Dale amalgamation in their eponymous film, and Swatton’s Oswald as one of the more cognizant brothers in X-Files’ banned episode, “Home”.

The End is Here

What Butchers lacks in originality, it makes up for in performance. Phillips and Swatton were brilliant, both exceptionally and sadistically terrifying as the Watson brothers living in their own self-governed world.

I won’t be surprised if you are not impressed by the film’s slow-burn of a beginning that, thankfully, accelerates to a tastefully gory finale, brilliantly juxtaposed with the 1919 recording of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” in much the same way that “Tiptoe Thru’ The Tulips with Me” was so effectively used in Insidious.

In contrast, the protagonists (to use the word liberally) of Jenna, Taylor, Mike, and Christopher will not win over the viewers, primarily due to those characters having more weakly-written roles (despite those actors’ best efforts). But perhaps this was purposeful, written with the avid horror fan in mind so that the viewer is more curious of the Watsons’ sadism rather than hopeful for the protagonists to escape unscathed.

Watch Butchers On-Demand Now

Directed by Adrian Langley, Butchers earns 3 stars and is ultimately better than IMDb consensus suggests. Per IMDb, Langley’s next project, a crime film entitled Boneyard, will also feature Phillips.

If Butchers represents what these two can do together, horror fans might have something to look forward to.

BUTCHERS is out in select theaters and on VOD from January 12, 2021.

Details

Director: Adrian Langley
Writers: Adrian Langley, Daniel Weissenberger
Stars: Simon Phillips, Michael Swatton, Julie Mainville, Anne-Carolyne Binette, James Hicks, Frederik Storm, Nick Allan, Samantha De Benedet, Blake Canning, Jonathan Largy

Plot

A family of sadistic butchers has dug into the back country and, from the deep freeze of winter to the dog days of summer, anyone who crosses their path is dead meat.

Cognitive neuroscientist by day, avid horror fan by night, I began writing reviews/recaps for Heaven of Horror in March 2019. I have a particular affinity to found-footage horror, but I truly love all horror subgenres. As a diagnosed sufferer of obsessive-compulsive disorder, horror movies help relieve my anxieties (and apparently, there's some science to support that). My favorite horror films/shows include Let the Right One In, Hell House LLC, Host, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, The Babysitter, The Haunting of Hill House, and so many more. I'm very particular about a film's originality when I write reviews, and I hope to steer y'all in the right directions when it comes to which movies to stream versus skip. Happy viewing!
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