Andre the Butcher (2005)
By: Devon B. on February 17, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Thinkfilm (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.85:1 (Non-anamorphic). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. Spanish Subtitles. 86 minutes
The Movie
Director: Philip Cruz
Starring: April Billingsley, Maury Sterling, Heather Joy Budner, Justin Capaz, Faye Canada, Ron Jeremy
Screenplay: Philip Cruz, James Hyde
Country: USA
I'm not sure what I think about Ron Jeremy. There're accounts that he's a total asshole. His stand up routine seems staler than month old Weet-Bix. His rapping is worse than Homer Simpson's. But regardless of all his other talents or lack thereof, I think Jeremy is a really goddamn funny actor. So, when I got Andre the Butcher, the cover scared me all right. Not because it looked like a good horror movie, but because it was a movie starring Jeremy that seemed to be taking itself seriously. No need to fear, Andre the Butcher certainly has its tongue in cheek. I'm just not sure that was enough.

Andre the Butcher has an opening that reminded me of Violent Shit II: Mother Hold My Hand's, but thankfully the fight choreography is better. Given VSII's villain is Karl the Butcher, maybe this was some sort of tribute, but the idea of someone paying tribute to an Andreas Schnass movie hurts my soul.

Anyway, the story is about a team of cheerleaders, the Beavers, who get in a fight with their rivals, the Game Cocks. After kicking ass, two of the Beavers decide to celebrate with a little freeway fellatio, which leads to an accident. Stranded, the group come across a deserted home, and break in. Naturally, they decide to make themselves at home while waiting for help. Meanwhile, two escaped convicts are making their way towards the cabin, and let's also not forget Andre (Jeremy) himself, a killer with more spunk in him than anyone since Orville Ketchum in Hard to Die.

While a few things are definitely borrowed from other sources, like a blender/love scene reminiscent of Braindead, the movie does have its own amusing moments. There's a piss gag that actually works, and the dialogue, while at times annoying, is generally somewhat clever. The youth's hormones are revved to satirical levels, and the climax has the most imaginative creation of holy water I've ever seen. However, there's a lot to dislike as well. Some of the humour is less subtle than a whale hiding in a puddle. The gore is often shoddy, and isn't widespread enough for a ridiculous slasher like this. Over half way in, I was definitely ready for Andre to turn up and cause some carnage, because there just hadn't been enough action. I understand that some viewers can be distracted by light petting scenes, but given there was only one person in the film willing to get naked, and she was a body double, I lost interest in the sex scenes real quick. The film is also a bit morally pompous, which is bound to annoy a few people.

My main problem, though, is that I got Andre to see Jeremy hamming it up. I don't know that I qualify as a true fan of Jeremy's, given that I've never seen him in what most people would consider his main body of work, but he often makes me laugh in his non-hardcore performances. Jeremy does what he can when he's there, but is often doubled waaaaaaaay too noticeably. Perhaps moving on from his ability to self-suck, Jeremy performs auto-anthropophagy in one rather gross scene.

Overall, I wanted a goofy gorefest like The Toxic Avenger, so I wasn't entirely happy with Andre. As a stupid slasher, it's a bit slow, and there's not enough flesh to make up for the amateur blood.
Andre the Butcher is presented letterboxed, but in a 4:3 transfer. The lighting is a bit odd at times, which messes with the film image, but that's not Thinkfilm's fault. There were a few spots and some grain, but I never found them distracting.
Audio is available in 5.1 or 2.0 English tracks. The dialogue is mostly clear, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that when the 5.1 was utilised, it was quite well done. Injuries and smashes thump, bullets wiz, and blades slice the air. The sound mix made me yearn for some more action.
Extra Features
Andre's trailer is included, as are those for The Zodiac and The Choke. There's one extra listed as a deleted scene, but it's really just the full version of the camera wink in-joke from the bloopers in the credits. The main extra is a commentary track featuring director/co-writer Philip Cruz, writer James Hyde, star April Billingsly, and body double April Renee Yats. They discuss some of the odder character motivations, colouration, and the "no nudity clause." Actually, that last topic comes up a lot, as they frequently mention Yats' doubling. The track is okay, but some stupid stuff is said. There is one last thing listed as an extra, but I find it even more dubious than attempting to pass trailers off as extras (see my review for Beneath Loch Ness for more ranting on that). I suppose technically subtitles count as features, but I think Thinkfilm's claim that Spanish subtitles are an extra feature is very, very dubious. They should've at least gone all out and listed the audio tracks as extras as well.
The Verdict
While leagues better than previous low budget horror from the Florida area (whose idea was it to give Tim Ritter a camera, anyway?), Andre's disappointing special effects and lack of Ron Jeremy left me unengaged. It's okay, but certainly stay well clear if you're after a serious slasher, or even a good splatter flick.
Movie Score
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