“Butcher Boys” is one half “Judgment Night” and one half of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” but in an urban setting. With a rash of disappearances occurring all over the city, two groups of people find themselves lost in the ghettos of an urban neighborhood. After a prank goes awry, two young men get beaten and killed by three psychotic armed thugs. The group that inflicted the prank realize too late that they’ve come across a lethal and dangerous group of kidnappers, many of whom are taking tourists and locals hostage for nefarious purposes.
Much of “Butcher Boys” is merely just running and hiding, stalking and taunting, and running and hiding. All with a steady ho hum formula to it that fills up the ninety minute run time perfectly. Another commentary on the economy, “Butcher Boys” is mainly a film about urban cannibals, and their efforts to use human flesh for hunger, and to appease the urges of the wealthy, many of whom pay big for hostages. “Butcher Boys” features a few stars from the Tobe Hooper “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” original, thus the directors and writer Kim Henkel (writer of the original “Texas Chainsaw”) makes good on promising inevitable nods to the film.
There’s even a moment where our final girl is strapped down and forced to endure a tense dinner between the cannibals as she begs for mercy. It’s all really nothing we’ve haven’t already seen. There are plenty of moments where our inept characters run in to danger, and can’t quite seem to find a police station or any kind of hospital–because–I guess the ghettos are a labyrinth of some kind. Graves and Meeks spend a majority of their time trying to see how much shock value they can pull out of their movie, and for the most part it’s fairly routine torture and cannibal cinema. Save for one moment where a scene we think is going to end in gang rape ends in a buffet, so to speak. There’s also the funny and demented final chaotic slaughter scene for animal rights protestors.
Mainly the movie wants to break all kind of stereotypes and it’s clever in that regard. Most of the Mexican characters featured are harmless and mind their own business, while the folks that save the day are two Mexican gangsters. “Butcher Boys” is surely not the worst horror movie ever made, it just doesn’t re-invent the wheel. Director Duane Graves and Justin Meeks’ horror film has the right idea in terms of a plot as well as being an ode to Jonathan Swift, but never actually amounts to an entertaining horror film. It’s all mostly just running and hiding, with occasional cannibal moments that never gets in to the grit and grime of the lifestyle these characters have adopted. It’s a shame, since there are nuggets of humor present throughout.