★★★★ out of ★★★★★
If you are in the mood for a mind-blowing cinematic experience, look no further than the darkly comic serial killer offering Butt Boy.
Directed by Tyler Cornack
If the title of the film Butt Boy instantly puts you off from considering watching it, please reconsider, because this is one of the most outré, imaginative genre films likely to be released this year. Its opening eight minutes are jaw-dropping, and things only get more absurd and intriguing after that.
Director/cowriter Tyler Cornack stars as titular character Chip Gutchell. Chip works disinterestedly as an IT employee at a phone sales office, and his wife Anne (Shelby Dash) obviously has little interest in him. When he undergoes his first prostate exam, he enjoys the feeling, and after Anne refuses to try to spice up things in bed for him with his newfound interest, he becomes first attracted, and then addicted, to inserting objects there himself. Unfortunately, he doesn’t limit himself to nonbiological things, and soon — within those first eight minutes I mentioned earlier — a child goes missing.
Several years later, Chip is still working at the same job and still living with Anne and their young son. He secretly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, hiding his true addiction. When detective Russel Fox (Tyler Rice of American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire ) starts attends the same AA meeting as Chip, Chip is assigned as his sponsor but doesn’t return Fox’s calls. Fox slowly grows suspicious of Chip, and when another child suddenly disappears at Chip’s office, the tension and suspense rise.
Butt Boy has its darkly comedic moments and is rich with absurdity and surreal sequences, but Cornack and his cast largely play things straight, which is what makes this audacious effort work. Cornack and cowriter Ryan Koch are the cocreators of comedy series Tiny Cinema, where Butt Boy started as a short, and cast members including Rice and Dash have starred in Tiny Cinema vignettes. So what we have here are comedy creators and actors committed to making a bold, plucky film that riffs on the beats of serial killer/police procedural cinema and addiction dramas with performances that could easily fit into such movies, and situations too startling and ludicrous to do so. It’s an experiment that succeeds in all areas.
The cast is fantastic. Cornack is great as the downtrodden everyman who finds his sole happiness in a dangerous addiction, and Rice is a blast, channeling such detective performances as Harvey Keitel’s in Bad Lieutenant (1992), while Dash plays off Cornack wonderfully as distracted wife Anne. The supporting cast is superb, too, including Brad Potts (Circus of the Dead and Crazed [both 2014]) as Fox’s boss Chief Lazarra, who magnificently delivers the lines [potential spoiler warning, though this is in the trailer:] “So you’re asking me to go off this theory you got about a white, married male who happens to be a father, living in the suburbs of Kritika County who also happens to be your AA sponsor, who’s been secretly running around cramming objects, animals, and children up his asshole, then he somehow digests them, and he does this in sprees — almost in serial killer fashion. Is that about it?”
Cornack helms Butt Boy with bravado and aplomb, and the film’s production values are super. Cornack paces the movie masterfully, leading up to a jaw-dropping third act featuring a gory climax. This is not-to-be-missed genre cinema that is bound to be divisive, but then, much of the best genre cinema often has been.
Butt Boy screened at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow, which ran March 5th –7th at Glasgow Film Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland. Epic Pictures will release the film in the U.S. this April (visit https://epic-pictures.com/film/butt-boy for release dates and information) and it will be released in the U.K. and Ireland by Blue Finch Film Releasing later this year.