Joe’s violent brother, armed with a chainsaw and an over-sized, bloody bunny suit, goes on another rampage gathering fresh supplies for his special brand of beef jerky.
The Bunnyman Massacre wants to be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a big, hungry way. In many ways, it succeeds; in many more ways, it fails miserably. There is an audience for this type of masochistic nonsense void of story and lacking emotion or empathy of any kind, but it may be difficult to find anything beyond that to enjoy. It’s ugly, grimy, bloody, deranged – a bastard cousin of its Tobe Hooper inspiration. It’s single focused purpose is to repulse its audience, to celebrate the insanity of its main characters – if you can call them that – Joe and Bunnyman. It’s low budget weakens the goofy Seventies and Eighties gore it imagines it wants to become. Instead blood is splattered on the screen in post with little sign of practical effects or imagination. Again, there is an audience for this and that audience will likely eat this movie up. The lead character, a murdering psychopath dressed in a bunny costume, is iconic enough visually to make the violence and mayhem sickly irreverent in its own way, but the script follows a path from encounter to encounter without telling anything resembling a story. The Bunnyman Massacre passes the time but does pass the muster.
The film, from writer/director Carl Lindbergh, picks up where the first Bunnyman leaves off. No worries about having seen or even heard of the original film, the sequel wastes no time recapping the setting and moving onto its own tale to tell. The plot is pointless, introducing character after character to randomly encounter the two demented brothers becoming victims to their chainsaw wielding attacks. The Bunnyman Massacre begins to get interesting when it slows down to examine the relationship between Joe and Bunnyman exposing their codependencies and anti-social behavior. Later, the police become involved ramping up the tension as they try to save the last remaining survivors from becoming tomorrow’s beef jerky.
The biggest problem The Bunnyman Massacre has is that it doesn’t have the budget to produce the graphic practical (or CGI) effects to match its wit and desire. This kind of film screams for excess in on screen bloody mayhem to which the results struggle to match. Limbs need to fly, heads need to roll, blood needs to flow. Alternatively, the film could have cut to the raw energy and fear present in Hooper’s original 1974 classic, but the film does not have the scope, cinematography nor direction to carry that tone either. The films leans more toward the graphic side with multiple broad daylight attacks but the carnage is minimal and implied in a straight to video manner. To its credit, the film manages to make up for some of the absent crimson with shocking set pieces and a total lack of taboo as to whom the Bunnyman will attack and how.
The acting in The Bunnyman Massacre is all over the place from excruciatingly amateurish to fairly impressive. The biggest plus are David Scott as Joe and Joshua Lang as Bunnyman. Likely that is where the concentration should be as the film is their story, not the story of those who encounter them. Everyone else is fodder to their fancy. The film works best when the two of them are together, either on the farm or at the dinner table with Joe abusing and punishing Bunnyman relentlessly, mercilessly. But who is kidding who, it is the image of Bunnyman that makes the film work in any way. The visage of a six-foot tall Jason-of-a-Bunny is oddly frightening in its ravaging of its innocent origins. There is something inherently nerve-wracking about someone in a large costume masking what evil it could be hiding. Put a chainsaw in its hands and it is time to soil the sheets. The Bunnyman Massacre capitalizes on that imagery and expands upon it as the even more horrifying face of the man underneath the mask is revealed.
The Bunnyman Massacre makes good on the promises of the iconic imagery its title conjures. At the very least, it delivers the mad man in a bunny outfit cutting down his victims with a chainsaw. The film is violent and reprehensible, making no excuses for the violence it shows and its lack of humanity. It is a film for an audience who wants to see a large bloodied bunnyman rampage on a small town, slicing and dicing his way through victim after victim with no morality in sight. David Cott and Joshua Lang do a fantastic job creating the two main characters, Joe and Bunnyman, coloring their relationship with ugly, spiteful hate without losing an oddly deep rooted brotherly love. The film is never restrained enough to match the raw authenticity of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre nor does it contain the graphic effects to take it over the top. Serviceable at best, The Bunnyman Massacre is better for what it wants to be and the imagery it leaves behind with its title character. Other than that, it is another forgettable entry into low budget independent horror.
2 out of 5