Marc-Andre Samson, known for visual effects with large looming budgets for films such as Cabin in the woods  and The Reaping , brings together a very interesting horror and psychological terror film to the fans of the genre, thanks to Midnight Releasing. What if one of your parents were a serial killer, how does impact you, are you able to adjust easily, get past the suspicious glances, rumors running amok, the name-calling, bullying, etc. this movie attempts to answer that intriguing question. It is a character based and driven story on the life of a son, infamous killer nicknamed “The Butcher,” an abundance of ideas spring together but with highly limited funds Samson’s talent for improvisation comes together for a very good insight into madness.
The film starts with the local sheriff Don Miller (Scott Anthony Leet (The Prometheus Project )) a nonsensical gentleman, with the convictions and strength of his true authority. He convincingly shows that he’s less than thrilled to babysit this man, and constantly refers to him in humiliating terms, as a sissy. Yet, he follows the law to a point, rather than keeping Lenard nearby, he establishes a welcome concept by forcing him to stay in his late relative’s home who’s rumored to be a closeted homosexual with satanic references. An insecure Lenard (Walter Peña), the son of a serial killer, in recovery, serving out the last 90 days of his asylum sentence under house arrest with an electronic leg bracelet for his own safety confined to this place in the middle of nowhere. His life is ruined from guilt by association and narrow-mindedness of others, the tortures corrupting his soul, he falsely accused a man as a Satanist and attacking him physically that he is not mentally stable. This becomes as a case for Dr. Phil, sadly no kindness from authorities as he suffers from schizophrenia and is constantly reminded what kind of monster his father was. Lenard strives to stay focused on the discipline regiment of pills, and institutionalized order and cleanliness of home, self, and mind. In addition, realizing the local sheriff won’t deliver his meds, he runs an ad in the local paper for an assistant. Constant reminders from society indirectly affecting his son consistently inspired a series of moves and several devilish cults since his father’s showdown with the police. It all leads to the story switching gears, a decline or just another ordinary day, watch as his mind gets the best of him at times tormented constantly reminded of being trapped by memories and the beeping of the ankle monitor staking his boundaries. At times hints a little to Psycho II , with Norman (Anthony Perkins (Psycho )) as he struggles to remain sanity and not be sent back to the hell of doctors and loss of freedom. A series of events spiral outward unhinging Lenard, such as finding blood, a dead animal, satanic symbols, and the arrival of Oren (David O’Hara (Biohazard )), ready to kill and establish the power and fear of “The Butcher”. No question the audience finds enjoyment and some nerve wrecking adjustments to the images as they try to distinguish what is real, fake and question the hallucinations of stress or cracks in the sanity. While watching place yourself in the position of Lenard, from the possibilities that close relative in fact did the horrendous crimes, whether a serial killer or far greater psychosis understanding a meltdown in mental stress and vast array of symbolism some real, imaginary, or is it all vice versa. Very few horror films, in today’s market make a convincingly story that drives the entire movie and centering it just on one location, with limited characters which excels in Samson’s storytelling with wonderful visuals. Aside from the story which keeps one alert no dosing or texting on the phone, pay attention to the screen, and keeping your mind engaged. The schizophrenic angle leads to many second-guessing, which works in the positive for entertainment possibilities all thanks to the capability duties of the cast.
A very believable storyline and realistic cast worked wonders on a minuscule budget of $50,000 but when a movie, tricks the mind with visuals and confuses the audience instead ending it all in the devil’s lap or endless drivel one must applaud. Nevertheless, those seeking blood-splatter and high body count, this is not for you, though why not expound your horizons and look at Where the Devil Dwells for a new rest stop in horror.
- A tale of satanic terror set in 1989
IMDb Rating: 4.6/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10