10th May2022

‘Buzz Cut’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Phoenix Cross, Linnea Quigley, Donna Wilkes, Benjamin Hudson, Zoë Helen Boyle, Ashton Brown | Written and Directed by Martin Renner

There’s not a horror fan out there that doesn’t like slasher movies. It all started with Black Christmas in 1974 (yeah I know, you could argue a few came before it) and then the Eighties came and suddenly the horror subgenre was huge. Since then there have been countless others and it’s perhaps the subgenre that first-time horror directors on a small budget go for. Which is exactly what Martin Renner, director of Buzz Cut has done.

There are a few things that you need to get right when making a slasher film and the most important, that almost everyone will agree on, are the death scenes. Get them right and almost everything else can be forgiven by your average horror fan. So I’m very glad to say that Buzz Cut does get it right! The death scenes are the highlight of the film, as they should be, and are delightfully gory. Not only do they feature plenty of gore but there’s originality, variety and a lot of fun here. Sliced off skulls, decapitation, spikes in ears and in mouths. I could go on and on because there’s a lot of them too, which is another bonus, a lot of people get killed. A lot of the characters are pretty annoying too so I was kinda happy to see them killed off.

All of these deaths are with the use of practical effects. I’m no hater of CGI, it can work perfectly well, but even low budget practical effects have something about them that CGI just doesn’t. For a lot of horror fans like myself, it is almost definitely in part to do with the nostalgia from the Eighties and what was probably a golden era for practical effects in death scenes. I loved that Buzz Cut used several different models – mainly of character’s heads – to use for close-ups of the chainsaw and other gory moments. Seeing the insides, brains and blood in this ridiculous, over-the-top and brilliant way. I don’t think it will ever get old.

Buzz Cut follows a drinking club on a 25th anniversary get together who have accidentally crossed paths with a beekeeper who also happens to be a serial killer. Why a beekeeper needs the use of a chainsaw so much I’m not really sure but it does make a great-looking image. The white beekeeper outfit covered in blood is a surprisingly effective look for a slasher villain!

With the comedy at the forefront this almost becomes a parody of the Eighties slashers it is clearly influenced by but that is no bad thing. Not every joke is funny but there are definitely more hits than misses and Buzz Cut had me laughing several times over. Most of the actors seem to know how to perform comedy and the timing and reactions of the jokes are really good. There’s plenty of childish humour but it mostly works and there are some great visual gags too.

The relatively inexperienced cast and first-time director of Buzz Cut do a great job of creating the type of horror movie that is great to watch with a couple of drinks and a group of people. This would make a great double-bill with other New Zealand comedy horror, Black Sheep.

*** 3/5

2 Responses to “‘Buzz Cut’ Review”

  • Martin Renner

    Glad you liked it! I loooooove Black Sheep!

  • Rick

    Oh there are a LOT of horror fans who don’t like slashers. I’ve been a horror fan my entire life and generic, unimaginative, cookie cutter slashers bore me to death. I avoid them and the irritating found footage garbage.

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