Friday, April 25, 2008

Andre The Butcher (Dead Meat) (2005)

It's difficult to criticize a movie for being crude, amateurish and shot on digital video when you yourself make films that are crude, amateurish and shot on digital video. However, Andre The Butcher (aka Dead Meat) is simply unpleasant in its badness. There's a sleaze factor on display that makes the viewer feel like they are only a step away from the whole thing turning into a porno (or, even worse, a snuff) film.

That feeling is certainly enhanced by the appearance of "The Hedghog" Ron Jeremy as the killer (decked out in a welding mask and apron to help hide the fact that half the time it's actually one of several body doubles). His sole responsibility in the film is to stand around and be violent, while occasionally doing something disgusting like eat his own scabs, but none of this can really distract from the fact that you're watching Ron fucking Jeremy. It's rather distracting.

The plot as it is involves a cheerleading squad that has an accident on the road (resulting from some unfortunate BJ action) and has to take refuge in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. While half the group wanders for help, the remaining two dyke out for a bit before being interrupted by two escaped convicts. A local sheriff and a sassy black officer round out the cast, who are mostly disposed of in grisly ways.

I hesitate to call this a "stalk and slash" film, since there really isn't any stalking on display. The horror sections of the film have almost no tension, and the violence (which is alternately impressive and pathetic) is used as a replacement for any sense of action. The film is meant to be a comedy, but the humor is intermittent and is sub-sub Scary Movie levels. The direction is pedestrian, though the choice to film almost the entire thing in bright daylight certainly doesn't help in building suspense.

The acting is a mixed bag, with the only acceptable performance coming from Maury Sterling as one of the escaped prisoners. His storyline is ridiculous, but unlike the rest of the leads he's obviously a trained actor. The only recognizable face is Terry Mross, who played the asshole football coach in Dazed And Confused. This isn't one to stick on the acting resume.

The film is presented in it's original 1.78:1 ratio, and the video quality is standard for shot on DV material, meaning cheapish but consistent. The DVD features a few trailers, and a surprisingly uninformative commentary with the participants drinking throughout. This worked on Cannibal: The Musical, and nothing else.

I'd recommend missing out on this one. Unless you're a giant Ron Jeremy fan. And, if so, may God have mercy on your soul.

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