Where do grim reapers, who in this universe resemble WWF/E great The Undertaker (sans chapeau…yeah baby, that’s some culture for yo’ ass!) go when they are fired? Well, they go to any random small town where they commit acts of unspeakable murder to collect souls for their own sinister ends. Who can stand in this evil’s way? Why Sam and Martin, the mentally challenged employees of the local bakery ‘natch (they actually get hired by a bureaucrat in charge of the reapers to dispatch his wayward charge). Our heroes soon armor up (in ridiculously homemade fashion) and tackle the monstrous menace head on…but can these two idiots overcome a preternatural presence of unimaginable destructiveness?
Butcher the Bakers is that rare breed of picture…one that can deftly balance gore and guffaws…well, eventually (more on that in a bit my creeps). Let’s start, as always, with what works in this flick…’cuz puppies and rainbow style positively is the Daniel XIII hallmark! First up is Ryan Matthew Ziegler and Sean Walsh as Martin and Sam respectively. These two play our heroes to the hilt with a combination of buffoonery and bravado that falls in line with our beloved Ashley J. Williams, and easily carry the film (good thing too because they are the freakin’ stars and all). Equally as great is Mike Behrens as Drag the Reaper…he’s dirty, violent, and menacing while at the same time being engaging…not an easy feat, but one he easily pulls off. I also loved the mythology and world building set up by the film, with death itself being handled as a business, and one of my favorite tropes; ‘terror comes to a small town’ being trotted out to great effect. Finally, the gore on display is satisfying, and the story twists and turns surprise and actually deliver a bit of gravitas as the yarn unfolds.
On the downside, this film suffers from being uneven. The actors actually seem to be feeling out their characters in the first half of the film, before becoming more confident (and their comedic timing more on point) in the second half. I seriously wonder if this film was shot in sequence…
If you are willing to stick with an uneven (though not horrible) first half you will discover that Butcher the Bakers is a damn fine horror comedy filled with genuine laughs, solid gore, and a unique story and mythology that is satisfying and entertaining to boot!
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