Spotlight on Asian Horror — The Butcher

 

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Kim Jin Won

Studio: Palisades Tartan

MPAA Rating: N/A

Region: Korean

Review Rating:  Six Eyeballs

A small group of murder victims fall to the torture and killing of a gang of film makers and their pig-head-wearing mutant Butcher.

It’s actually very hard for me to sum up the plot for this movie, because frankly, there isn’t one. Things start right off with approximately four victims, each one has a camera mounted to their head, and the entire movie is either shot from the victim or murderer point of view. I would guess the purpose is to bring the audience as close to the reality of what they’re being shown as possible, for me all those jerky camera movements and stark shots of gore are just barely disconcerting. Like Hostel, the film seems to try very hard for unflinching atrocity, all substance and no story. Which, if you happen to be a horror-phile of that variety, is just fine.

The film-makers, if you want to call them that, interact some with their victims. After the first few shots of the victims all huddled together and one of them being dragged off to some unknown horror, the real show begins. Next, and last, is the husband and wife pair who are set up in the killing room across from eachother, both awake and more or less aware and forced to watch the other being tortured. The director, again if you want to call him that, proceeds to commence a very sick game in which he promises if the husband can endure everything that happens to him for ten minutes without, as it was censored for the review, “chickening out”, he and the wife will go free. Of course the husband can’t do it, so the stakes are upped: give the director new and inventive ways to torture and kill the wife, and save the husbands life. After an escape attempt, being hunted through the filming warehouse, the nasty death of the wife and a final battle, the husband actually does manage to escape entirely, and rides off into the sunset to bawl like a baby. I think I mentioned it before, but basically the film is very much like the movie Hostel, but without any real attempts at that silly trifling thing called a plot.

It is very graphic, just bear that in mind. There’s a rape scene, an eyeball-popping scene, and more blood than I think there is in a few dead bodies, splashed everywhere. I would guess it’s a new-ish style of horror film-making, but for us jaded Americans the movie didn’t do much. The Butcher gets six eyeballs, we didn’t need those anyway.


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