Directed by Philip Cruz, 2005
Andre the Butcher is a movie for people who just don’t care.
After the mandatory, unrelated-to-the-rest-of-the-movie opening death, it kicks off with a hillbilly narrator who introduces us to Andre, the film’s urban legend cannibal, and our unique little cast of good guys; a high school cheerleading squad (all four of ‘em…). Oh, did I say unique? I meant to say entirely predictable.
But before it seems like I’m completely ripping into the movie, let me loop back to that opening sentence. If you take the horror genre seriously, as I tend to do from time to time, this is not the movie for you. The script is intentionally nonsensical, the direction wild and the acting over the top. This isn’t balls-out-horror as in visceral (read: The Hills Have Eyes), this is balls-out-horror as in streaking-naked-through-your-high-school.
If you want any indication as to how serious the movie plays, the first 10 minutes alone pack in one pointless death, an even more pointless “heavy metal” scored fight scene on the side of a road (between rival cheerleading squads, no less), shots of Andre eating his own scabs for no reason beyond grossing out the viewer, and, of course, a car crash caused by a random spot of fellatio.
I could tell you what the story is about, but it’s really not about anything. Things happen yes, but they happen for the sake of the audience, not the story. And in a movie like this, that’s not a criminal offense. If you’re going to cast Ron Jeremy as your villain, it only makes sense that his body parts keep getting blown off by a Pam Grier-esque cop screaming “Eat lead, Jive Turkey!”, or that the glutinous will actually be lured by a donut hanging from a string.
If any of this sounds like a good way to spend an hour and a half to you, then by all means, be my guest and get Andre The Butcher. If you like your horror serious, like I do, this is not the movie for you. That said, I still did get some enjoyment out of the movie. If you can survive past the initial low brow humor and excuses for the skeeziest shots of nudity (I was damned close to turning this off after a disgusting shot of a girl licking chili off another girl’s foot), then you’re already in it for the long haul and you might as well shut off your brain and let it do its thing. When in Rome, do what the Romans do. When in…I don’t know…a slum, do what the slum lords do, right?
It’s strange, Andre the Butcher is a lot like 2001 Maniacs. They’re both very cheap and very reliant on shock gore as well as a bonanza (early on) of nudity, as opposed to enjoyable characters and solid thrills. BUT, I hated 2001 Maniacs, while I think Andre is perfectly watchable. The difference between the two is that Andre knows its limitations. Philip Cruz knows what movie he is making, he knows his budget, he knows the stigma carried with anything shot on DV, he knows his actors, he knows his script is silly and he just doesn’t care; he keeps running down that hall naked for all to judge.
Tim Sullivan, on the other hand, had a budget, he had mainstream actors, he had a mainstream effects company, a mainstream cinematographer, but he didn’t realize the movie he was trying to make was more suited for someone like Philip Cruz. 2001 Maniacs had the credentials, but pretended like it didn’t. Andre the Butcher didn’t have that established backing and was fully aware of it. It really makes a helluva difference in the end product.
Now, on a funnier, what-a-small-world-it-is note, I actually realized something while watching this movie. Dwight, who was my co-producer and star of The LAN (and actually the guy in that picture), had mentioned over a year ago that he was up for a part in a Florida based horror movie with Ron Jeremy called Dead Meat. Well, Dead Meat became Andre the Butcher. After watching the movie I called Dwight up to double check that I did remember him saying something about the movie and I wasn’t just making it up. It turns out he was originally going to play the male cheerleader and that he’s friends with the director/writer/producer.
I’d like to think Dwight passed on the role so he could work on the LAN, but I doubt that’s the case. Either way, small world.
But back to the movie. It’s funny, it’s stupid, it’s gross, it’s everything the filmmakers obviously wanted it to be. It has a very specific audience (again, people who don’t care) and is perfectly watchable, if not even fairly enjoyable once you get over the obligatory attempts at sexualtiy in the begining and all the dick/fart jokes. Watch it with a group of people who love to go to Blockbuster and pick up whatever no-name horror they can find that has the coolest cover and you may even have a pretty good time.