Judge David Johnson advises you not to play in or around a woodchipper, even though the game "Hide the Frisbee in the Woodchipper" is a ton of fun!
How much flesh would a woodchipper chip, if a woodchipper could chip flesh?
The director of Cannibal Campout returns with…this other movie.
Facts of the Case
Writer/director Jon McBride stars as Jon, the eldest son of a single-parent family who finds himself in the unenviable position of disposing the body of his oppressive aunt. With the kids' father out on business, Jon, his sister Denise, and his brother Tommy were forced to endure the fascist oversight of their Aunt Tess. But an accidental run-in with a knife finds Tess lying on the kitchen floor, dead. Scrambling to dispose of the body, Jon and his siblings take advantage of a nearby woodchipper and feed the remains (after chopping them up and freezing them first) through the grinder.
But with that problem solved, another annoying family members shows up and starts snooping? What to do with him?
First off, know that Woodchipper Massacre isn't nearly as gory as the title or synopsis would make it sound. If you've seen the wildly bloody Cannibal Campout, which was an outrageous exercise in homemade gore effects, and are expecting an film equal to that, then tone down the expectations. This is NOT a blood and guts film. It's not even a horror film. Not even close.
If I had to label it, Woodchipper Massacre would probably earn itself a place in the "dark comedy" genre. What's really surprising, however, is that this flick isn't half-bad. Despite its zero-budget look, it's obvious that McBride knows what he's doing and the improvement in quality—craft-wise at least—from Cannibal Campout is noteworthy. Does it make it required reviewing? Nah. But it's obvious McBride has honed his filmmaking skills, even if that means a dearth of what made him notorious, the over-the-top sinew.
The acting isn't terrible, either. The kids, led by McBride, do a decent job, though their live delivery is a bit too loud. Actually, these kids blow out their lines at the edible level of a jet turbine, though, to be fair, they likely had to compensate for the not-so-sensitive stock camcorder microphone. Get past this wind-tunnel acting, and you'll notice that the kids have the skills to pay the bills.
The story ramps up when Aunt Tess buys the farm, specifically when the kids craft their body disposal plan and the level of detail that McBride injects into what essentially a ridiculous premise is impressive. Like, did you know a woodchipper will get clogged by the body parts and goo, and one would need to deep-freeze any limbs that will be passed through the grinders? Apparently that's the case. The steps that the kids take to get rid of the evidence properly are funny and different, actually showing that some thought went into the plot.
But, this inexorably brings us to the biggest hang-up of the film: the total lack of gore. There is nothing here that measures up to the pedigree of the director or the expectations created by the title (and oozing-blood disc packaging for that matter). A few splats of the red stuff and some fleeting shots of body parts and that's it. This might be a deal-breaker for most of you, especially if you're hoping to score some premium homemade blood and guts. Too bad, because, while it's far from high art, The Woodchipper Massacre is also far from terrible.
Camcorder-quality full frame and a tinny 2.0 stereo all the way: the technical achievements of this disc are not its strong point. Extras: Director Jon McBride delivers an animated commentary (over the phone), some interviews with the cast, now grown up, have been newly produced, and a VideoBob interview has been resurrected.
It's not the gore-soaked experience you're expecting (as promised on the DVD cover), but Jon McBride's black comedy certainly has its moments.
Two months of community service disposing bodies for the mob.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Camp Motion Pictures
• Director's Commentary
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