03rd Nov2014

‘Beckoning the Butcher’ Review

by Nicky Johnson

Stars: Damien Lipp, Stephanie Mauro, Tristen Barr, Sophie Wright, Tilly Legge, Lliam Murphy, Janet Watson Kruse, Peter Flaherty | Written and Directed by Dale Trott


Beckoning the Butcher follows the story of Chris (Lipp), an online vlogger who finds ghost summoning rituals and films himself doing them. Becoming more and more desperate for ideas, he turns to his brother for help and is given a ritual for beckoning the butcher. Along with his girlfriend Tara (Mauro), his best friend Brent (Barr) and two friends Nicole (Wright) and Lorraine (Legge), they take a trip up to an old house Brent knew was free in the outback to perform the ritual, which required them each to sign their name on a piece of paper and add their blood, which Tara refuses to add. The ritual seems to be a dud and they almost give up when Brent hears some strange sounds…

This film genuinely freaked me out. I’m a tough one to freak; I usually just groan and roll my eyes unless the visuals are genuinely shocking. Yet this super low budget, Blair Witch style fake documentary had me on edge to the point where I was playing Wild World by Cat Stevens on my guitar to keep calm. The footage of the actual ritual and aftermath is all handycam style shooting, intercut with documentary interviews with David, a psychic, and the Detective that investigated what happened.

There’s positives and negatives to that. On the bad side, it can take away from the action, and can feel a little dull, but on the positive it does work as a good tension breaker. Usually the tension builds and builds to a jump scare, a reaction, and then we go to one of the psychic or whoever to explain either what we’ve just seen or add some depth to the story and then back we go. Everything comes together brilliantly as well. The acting is genuine and believable, the script well written, the location is fantastic and really creepy, and I had to give points to the Dale Trott, who cut his teeth writing and directing this, for mentioning and talking about the ‘deep web’.

If anything, this does what the Blair Witch didn’t; it gave you a reason to watch it through to the end, other than to just see if anything actually happens. For a film made on a budget of $3000 AUD, this is a fantastically well done film. To contrast it to the ‘horror’ film I reviewed last, Judas Ghost, this is everything it failed it be. It may not be a fresh format or particularly innovative, but it’s at least enjoyable and actually freaky. Congrats to Dale Trott and the great actors for successfully making me put off going to bed.

***** 5/5

Beckoning the Butcher is out now on DVD, courtesy of Monster Pictures.


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