When I read the description of this film, it sounded promising, a comedy-horror in the vein of Tucker and Dale Vs Evil. While I am not as knowledgeable of the horror genre, I love Ash Vs Evil Dead as well as comedy-horror. Slapstick gore can be fun and entertaining when done well. This managed some elements of the genre but just wasn’t as funny as I was hoping, the acting ended up being over the top bad and the plot nonsensical.
The premise is interesting. A death reaper, Dragomir (Mike Behrens) goes rogue. Drag begins killing people in his territory and gets fired which turns him mortal. He continues his death spree, attempting to create black magic portal with the souls he collects. His bosses can’t touch him now that he’s mortal. Lance, (Alex Dittmer) his boss, The Commissary encounters Sam (Sean Walsh) and Martin (Ryan Matthew Ziegler), one evening, two slackers who work at the local bakery. They stop to help him, giving him food and he decides they’re the answer. He hires them to kill Drag. The only problem is they aren’t as heroic as they appear and the biggest obstacle is whether they can get their act together long enough to complete the job.
They have some help. One of Lance’s lieutenant’s was killed by Drag. Lance gives them his arm as a tracking device. Along the way, they’re joined by Joe (Joe Buckley), a creation of Drag that isn’t as evil and wants to assist. They also meet Dani (Devon Ford) whose father was killed by Drag. She wants to prevent Drag from taking her father’s soul to hell. She recruits her friend Pat (Lisa Wojcik) to help her. The women rescue Sam and Martin but the ragtag group must find a way to work together to stop Drag before he opens the portal and takes the souls of the dead with him, consigning their souls to agony.
This is definitely meant to be tongue in cheek, schlock horror. There were some moments that embraced that idea. The historical consultants Bill and Ted were a great touch at the beginning of the film. The two main characters are goofballs, much like in Tucker and Dale vs Evil. Neither one tries very hard and their main love in life is money and penis jokes. There are even penis cookies. The arm that helps them is silly in its attempts to communicate with the pair and there are stops during their journey for food. Sam and Martin are klutzes and this is played up during the movie. Dani is a crazy eyed badass with a lot of guns and Joe is a little gross. All of these touches highlighted the silliness and humor.
One of the elements that works is the special effects. The blood and guts are just enough, not too much more than you’d see in Evil Dead and more importantly, even on a small budget, they look decent. The scenes with the souls glowing was the perfect touch for the effect.
There were two actors that I especially liked. Devon Ford as Dani exuded crazy and passionate. I liked that the writers allowed the women to be strong and better fighters than the men. They got to save the day quite a bit. I also liked the arm. The guy performing the actions for guide arm did a fantastic job of communicating and injecting physical humor. Much like Thing in The Addams Family, the arm had some of the best acting.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the rest of the cast. The deliberately over the top acting meant to be schlocky and humorous was too over the top. The two main actors, Sam and Martin, tried too hard and you couldn’t engage with them. Alex Dittmer is decent as Lance but just couldn’t add enough humor nor could Devon Ford. I could see how passionate they were about the work but the passion just wasn’t quite enough to carry the film.
What made it worse was the plot. It started out interesting but too many elements were added. There were minions of the bad guy that were just there for fights and to lengthen the film. There were scenes with Lance that didn’t make sense. It got worse when the character Joe was added. He was there to fill in back story but it was just told to the other characters. There was even a musical scene with Sam that didn’t make any sense. The script was all over the place and could have used some editing, keeping the movie simpler.
Despite that, there were moments I laughed. I thought the ending was very appropriate. If the script hadn’t wandered so much and the acting had been better, this had promise. It didn’t live up to that promise but if you like comedy horror and don’t mind less than perfect acting, you might check it out for the concept and the effects. Aficionados of this style might fall in love, especially with that creative arm.
Rating: 2 stars
Recently fired, a grim reaper terrorizes a small town, killing and collecting souls for a purpose only he knows. Sam and Martin, slackers who work at the local bakery, are hired by a mysterious stranger to stop him from killing again.
Cast: Ryan Matthew Ziegler, Sean Walsh, Mike Behrens and Lisa Wojcik
Written and Directed by: Tyler Amm
"Butcher the Bakers": Promisingly Silly, but Ultimately Misfires
Slapstick gore can be fun and entertaining when done well. This managed some elements of the genre but just wasn’t as funny as I was hoping, the acting ended up being over the top bad and the plot nonsensical.