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Ashley Rebecca Hawkins
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Four people awaken to find that they are to be the stars of the latest movie by director Kim, a twisted sicko who specialises in making snuff films. With help from his loyal crew, including assistant Bong-Sik and a pig-masked psycho (known only as 'The Pig'), Kim attempts to create his masterpiece of brutality and death.
Inspired by first person shooter video games that allow a player to witness the action through the eyes of their character, Kim Jin-Won's The Butcher is a gruelling faux-snuff horror shot almost entirely from the point of view of its terrified victims, who have kindly been equipped with video cameras strapped to their heads in order to capture every last detail of their agonising ordeals.
This cinema verité, shaky-cam style allows Jin-Won's audience to wholly immerse themselves in an unspeakably hellish experience, all without the disadvantage of actual pain and loss of body parts.
To start with, the action is relatively restrained, the picture whipping side to side and breaking up as the victims frantically thrash around in panic, their fate gradually becoming all too apparent to them; eventually director Jin-Won really gets into the spirit of things, and once The Pig has buggered the lead character (yowch!), he lets loose with all manner of explicit vileness and acts of mean-spiritedness guaranteed to appease deviants everywhere. Amongst the stomach churning splatter on display: a chainsaw to the hand, the graphic gouging of an eye, and a multiple stabbing resulting in evisceration.
Although The Butcher doesn't quite reach the level of unpleasantness reached by Japanese torture splatter-fest Grotesque (also 2009), it provides yet another hefty slap in the face for Eli Roth and his second rate Hostel films.
7.5 out of 10 (rounded up to 8 for IMDb).
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