As regular readers of The Slaughtered Bird will know, my reviews have a pretty well-established formula to them. I start off talking about something apparently totally unconnected to the film under discussion, then I manufacture some sort of tortuous segue to connect whatever I’ve been babbling about to that film. I then talk about the film for the minimum possible amount of time before reaching around a thousand words and, if I remember, make some sort of call-back to the initial rambling in order to give the illusion that I had the whole thing planned in advance.
You’ve noticed by now that I haven’t followed that formula today, and there’s a simple reason for that. I have no intention of putting any thought into this review at all, because I just hate this egregious waste of binary. My god, I hate it. Butcher the Bakers is so rage-inducingly terrible that the adrenalin spike I got from watching it stopped me sleeping for five nights. I just stayed awake all the time, drinking and punching holes in random objects, and occasionally blowing a blood vessel or exploding a spleen. I hate this film so much that I committed suicide four times while watching it and each time my vengeful spirit returned to Earth just to write this review.
Butcher the Bakers starts out with two subnormals cocking about in a bakery. Right from the get-go we establish three things: firstly, that the film is supposed to be a slacker comedy as made by the Frat Pack-style comic actors; secondly, that the two lead actors think they are funny; and thirdly, that this film is going to be hell. These two chief malefactors are called Ryan Matthew Ziegler and Sean Walsh, and I wish them nothing but pain.
There is at least an interesting plot to this film: Death – or, at least, a small local Death – has quit his job and gone off the rails. You can tell it’s an interesting plot because it’s been stolen from Sir Terry Pratchett. The two useless morons who carry the film are charged with assassinating the Death (now going by the name of Drag, short for Dragomir) because he’s going round killing people for no reason. The script has apparently been written by two people called Tyler Amm and Virginia Campbell, but it’s perfectly obvious from the screen that a lot of improvisation has been allowed over the top of that, and the improvisation is crap because nobody onscreen is even slightly funny. Worse, their solution to not being funny is to double-down on the garbage they’re doing, so it gets even less funny but noticeably more infuriating.
Our two chief dickheads are recruited to kill Death by a “commissary” played by Alex Dittmer, who has an interesting stab at an English accent. It wanders all over the place between Princess Margaret and Dick van Dyke. Nevertheless, Dittmer is one of the film’s better actors and does his best with the talentless fuckwits gathered on screen. Drag the Death himself is portrayed by Mike Behrens who largely just glares insanely and looks a bit like Viggo Mortensen as an even tattier Aragorn. It’s not really acting, but it works well enough for the role.
Following some exposition and generalised wanking around, we get a scene set in a courtroom where something is apparently meant to be happening. A genuinely good cameo appearance is put in by Walt Willey playing a commissioner – here’s hoping he progresses to something that isn’t actively painful next time. There’s also a cameo appearance from the cowriter, Tyler Amm, and he’s an obnoxious dickhead just like his mates. I would pay good money to watch him hit himself sharply in the face with a claw hammer, but not to see any more of his goddamn movies.
This scene turns out to be an irrelevance except it introduces Amm’s on-screen partner Dani (Devon Ford), who is dragged away by her insane friend Pat (Lisa Wojcik) to do some black magic that is unrelated to the main plot but turns out to be conveniently relevant anyway. And here the film takes an unexpected dead cat bounce. The presence of Pat and Dani temporarily lifts the movie from gut-wrenchingly piss-poor to merely grindingly average. Lisa Wojick can’t act very well, but at least she delivers her lines as best she can and doesn’t go spasming around the screen like she’s Satan’s gift to improvised cinematic comedy. Devon Ford, by contrast, is easily the best thing in the film, bringing a screw-you emo vibe reminiscent of an amateur Dana DeLorenzo from Ash vs Evil Dead. Had her lines been trimmed down so there weren’t loose ends all over the place, she would have been actively all right to watch.
However, the film then proceeds to sodomise the viewer in the face once again. Not only do the two anal warts who play the leads return, they bring with them a pig-shaped obstacle that revels in the name of Joe Buckley. Buckley is, hands down, the least funny man who has ever walked the face of the planet. He’s a squealing, gurning, poorly-enunciating walking Holocaust of comedy, a man whose very presence in a room can render it more sombre and lifeless than the cheap suit you dress a despised relative in for his funeral. The fact that he clearly thinks he’s the new Nick Frost makes this all the harder to bear. His ludicrously misplaced faith in his own comic ability makes it impossible even to pity him; I just hate him. Future generations won’t use the words “Joe Buckley” in the same breath as “Bashar Assad”, but only because they won’t have heard of either of them. At least as a qualified optometrist Assad once knew how to do something useful.
Buckley, lending the already atrocious proceedings an ever-greater depth of iniquity, joins the two passable girls and the two atrocious men, and the film disappears in a rampage of bullshit that builds to neither a crescendo nor even a punchline. Everything comes to a thankfully abrupt end which offers no sense of closure but sends the viewer away into the night stumbling blindly in search of a stiff brandy and PTSD counselling. Don’t stay for the after-credits sting, which it’s an act of unbearable effrontery for the film even to have.
Butcher the Bakers is a coprolith. I highly recommend that everyone avoid it as hard as possible, which shouldn’t be hard as I can’t see even illegal torrent providers being in a rush to shop this pestilential dollop of horse mess around. The film is dedicated to the memory of one Ryan Michael Jones and whatever it was that got him, I hope it fucking hurt.