Horror, Slasher

The Bunnyman Massacre (2014)

Comments Off on The Bunnyman Massacre (2014) 30 October 2014

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Studio:  A No One Cares (ANOC) Productions

Distributed By:  Midnight Releasing

DVD Release:  August 12, 2014

Director:  Carl Lindbergh

Rating:  Not Rated

Reviewed By James M. Dubs

I’ll watch anything…including The Bunnyman Massacre.

Now that we’ve picked apart Sledge, it’s time to move on to fresh meat from my 4-movie Brain Damage Films/Midnight Releasing “slasherthon.” Of the four movies (which also included Blood Widow, Killervision), The Bunnyman Massacre shares the most in common with Sledge but represents the polar opposite in terms of outcome and execution. Where Sledge failed, The Bunnyman Massacre largely succeeds. But even if The Bunnyman Massacre is a better movie than Sledge, does this make it a good movie or only marginally better?

Film Rating: ★★½☆☆

Bunnyman_1There are 1.2 billion bunnies in the U.S. and this one’s pissed!

If this tag line from the back of the DVD cover is any indication, this movie has a much better understanding of what it intends to be.

One major commonality between The Bunnyman Massacre and Sledge is the complete lack of plot. The Bunnyman Massacre can be summarized in a single sentence. It is about a hillbilly named Joe and Bunnyman killing a whole lot of people in a whole lot of different ways. Think of The Bunnyman Massacre as a series of terror vignette’s in which the filmmakers look for ever evolving ways of killing characters. You don’t have to worry about getting too attached to anyone, because chances are they’ll be dead before the next scene anyway. However, unlike Sledge, the lack of plot does not equate to lack of direction or inspiration.

Bunnyman_7Tone is spot on. The filmmakers know that they have a guy in a dirty bunny costume and they don’t try to complicate things by explaining themselves. In the context of the movie, it’s just what it appears to be. If (and it’s a big “if”) you’re willing to accept the idea of a chainsaw wielding bunnyman (which I’m more than ready to do) then the filmmakers almost automatically get cart-blanch on avoiding otherwise blatant problems and questions. For example, Bunnyman sees incredibly well in the dark despite the obvious line of sight problem the mask must cause. Do I care? Nope.

Additionally, there appears to be no consequence for Joe’s/Bunnyman’s insatiable bloodlust. Even after Bunnyman massacres a bus load of children, several of whom run away and appear to escape (presumably to share their horrific experience), one would expect local law, SWAT, FBI, CIA, National Guard…frankly anyone with any peace keeping authority to overwhelm the area. Nada. Only one Sheriff Clint Baxter comes sauntering onto the scene with the grizzled attitude and urgency of a veteran detective who is following up on a 30-year-old cold case. Even then he is only interested in locating a couple of missing deputies. Does anyone care that a school bus driver and bus load of kids are missing? [Shaking head] And frankly I didn’t think twice about this because, with my brain firmly on snooze mode, it really didn’t matter.

Bunnyman_5Criticizing a movie so mind numbing seems redundant, but the biggest complaint that can be lodged at the film is that it is too generic. Is The Bunnyman Massacre a blatant Texas Chainsaw Massacre ripoff? Yes. But at least they rip it off well. They even cannibalize several very notable sound effects from the Tobe Hooper classic. Chainsaw isn’t the only film that could lodge a copyright complaint. About 6 minutes into the film, Bunnyman stumbles upon a campsite in which he tears open a tent with a machete, extracts a woman from within still in her sleeping bag and slams her body repeatedly against a large boulder. Horror fans will immediately recognize this kill made famous in Friday the 13th Part VII where Jason Voorhees famously kills a camper by slamming their sleeping bag wrapped body into a tree in a single swing. On the plus side, the filmmakers take this moment to fulfill their obligatory horror movie nudity quota.

Bunnyman_4In the end, without plot, what keeps propelling this movie forward is Carl Lindbergh’s ability to properly direct and manage all aspects of the production – camera, acting, editing, practical and digital gore effects. Lindbergh’s best achievement may be Bunnyman himself. Despite being completely ludicrous, the Bunnyman actually comes across as more than just a two dimensional man-in-suit. A combination of good camera composition, directing, and body performance from Joshua Lang (Bunnyman) all work to create an emoting character from an otherwise generic bunny suit. Don’t misunderstand. No awards in outstanding performance are earned here, but Lindbergh is a capable enough director to create a character and performance complex enough to have small emotional arcs throughout the film. Making the same permanent smiling bunny face seem troubled, gruesome, or sad is a fairly sizable achievement and deserves some level of praise even if I wouldn’t describe The Bunnyman Massacre as “a good movie.” With the next Bunnyman chapter set for 2015, Midnight Releasing has a shot at a franchise as long as Lindbergh and company can further improve upon what they’re already getting correct.

Video & Audio Rating: ★★★☆☆

Bunnyman_9From the opening credits it is clear that the production value is leaps and bounds better than a lot of other Midnight Releasing titles. And that’s a great thing! The Bunnyman Massacre is blessed with a competent crew that delivers very good image composition, color, and contrast. The camp scene in the film’s early moments is achieved using a day-for-night camera technique in which production takes place during the day and filters are used to try and make it look like night. Typically this technique looks horrible due to a number of variables, but in this instance the end result is largely successful due to great color timing and use of contrast and shadows to simulate evening.

Audio quality also gets an upgrade from Midnight Releasing’s typical lot. Instead of just a generic stereo track, this title actually boasts a 5.1 surround mix which only marginally improves the audio experience but is nevertheless a more robust mix than typically seen from these titles.

Extras Rating: N/A

Bunnyman_3So this is a first. I didn’t actually see the end of the movie because my screening copy was bad. The extras were also compromised due to a bad copy so I have no opinion to share on the supplements. But here’s what you get…

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Behind The Scenes
    1. Bunnyman Gets Fast Food
    2. Life On Set
    3. Interviews
    4. Joe’s Guide To Dating

The DVD box art says there is an audio commentary, but I could not find it in the DVD menus under set up or extras. It is quite possible it is available on the final product.

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Bunnyman_8I think part of the reason The Bunnyman Massacre seems so polished is because it is actually a follow up to 2011’s Bunnyman. What?!

Indeed, The Bunnyman Massacre is actually Bunnyman Part 2, and the filmmakers clearly improved upon what they accomplished from their 3-of-10 stars rated original (IMDB). I have not seen the original, nor did I realize this entry was Part 2 until after the fact, but this is clearly by design and rightly so. Marketing Bunnyman 2 as the stand alone The Bunnyman Massacre is an important decision and further gives credence to smart business decisions regarding this franchise. In fact, the only on-screen reference to the original comes in the form of a series of quick “mental flashes” Bunnyman suffers from, but these shots in no way telegraph the viewer to another movie.

The title change eliminates any hesitation people may have in watching a “part 2” before “part 1” and it also gives the filmmakers the ability to offer a marginally entertaining product, and create a franchise so that by the time Bunnyman 3 hits in 2015, people (including myself) may actually be curious enough to back-track and check out the original.

In the end, The Bunnyman Massacre showcases what can be accomplished with no plot but a capable filmmaking hand. It is fun for what it is, but don’t expect anything more than the ridiculousness that the cover suggests. It is simple bloody fun, without logic, and strangely enjoyable watching a chainsaw wielding Bunnyman stalking rural areas of this Earth.

Author

- who has written 67 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

James Dubs is a father and husband who loves his family first and movies a close second. He believes every movie is worth watching once and, as a film fan and critic, believes that even the worst movies offer something in return. His mission is to watch anything and report without pretension. Follow James Dubs on Twitter and send him suggestions on movies you would like reviewed - popular, obscure, independent, etc. He'll watch anything for you.

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