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Case Number 17599: Small Claims Court

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The Butcher (2009)

Tartan Video // 2009 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 30th, 2009

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All Rise...

Fun Fact: Judge David Johnson is best friends with his butcher. They're in a Jarts league together.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of The Butcher (2006) (published September 1st, 2006) and The Butcher (2007) (published July 31st, 2009) are also available.

The Charge

The Korean horror film too brutal and shocking to be released in its own country.

The Case

I can believe it. The Butcher tells the blood-soaked tale of a group of deranged crazies who've taken victims to a remote slaughterhouse. Each hostage is outfitted with a video camera strapped to his or her head. The whole point: to film the brutal deaths of each person, as well as the abusive torture inflicted upon them by said "Butcher," a hulking jackass in a pig mask.

That's your movie. Start with some intro stuff, with the snuff film directors talking about boring, day-to-day matters—you know, as if they weren't about to film the excruciating murders of innocent people; then a lot of screaming, bleeding, and chainsaw-ing; until, finally, we follow the exploits of one hostage who may have a chance at freedom.

Yes, kids, this is straight-up torture porn. There is no other classification for it. All The Butcher concerns itself with is throwing horrifying images of torture at you, the viewer, presumably making you as ill as it made me. I have a fairly robust constitution, but the murderous goings-on depicted in this film were so unrelenting, so brutal, so nihilistic, I was genuinely disturbed.

It's a cheap way to get under the skin, of course. While the premise isn't packed full of good times—mysterious d-bags in a far-off place filming the deaths of real people for fun and profit—it is overwhelmed by the sheer amount of violence thrown onto screen. Add to that the total dearth of a plot, and what you have is a hollow shell filled with gallons and gallons of blood.

You know, that's probably enough. Heck, it was enough for me. Then you have the gimmick of POV shots—the film is full of them—which adds another notch or two on the "This @#$% Gives Me the Jimmies" scale.

That's all I have to say about this movie. It's such a shallow enterprise, it doesn't deserve much bandwidth, but I can't deny its effectiveness. Director Jin Won Kim has served up a sinew-laden creation that will almost certainly furrow the brow of even the stoutest torture porn fans.

Have fun, kids, and let us never speak of this again.

The DVD: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo (Korean with English subtitles), a lame alternate ending, and some photo galleries.

The Verdict

As a film of redeemable value, the accused is sentenced to lethal injection—but it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do…namely upset my stomach.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 75

Perp Profile

Studio: Tartan Video
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Korean)
• English
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Foreign
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Alternate Ending
• Image Galleries


• Official Site

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