GORE IN THE STORE
BUTT BOY ***
Directed by Tyler Cornack.
Starring Tyler Cornack, Ryan Koch, Shelby Dash.
Horror comedy, U.S. 100 minutes, 15.
Reviewed as part of the Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow, March 2020.
Director Tyler Cornack stars as Chip Gutchel, bored at home in a loveless marriage and his job as an IT engineer. Unfulfilled with his life until that eventful prostate exam, he finds joy with a varied number of objects. Starting with a board game piece then moving on to the pet dog, his desires soon know no bounds. This crazy journey of self-discovery soon takes on an even blacker comedic tone when Detective Russel Fox, an alcoholic cop who does not play by the rules, begins to suspect Chip may somehow be involved in a missing person case.
Once this particular plotline kicks in the film slows down, content to play itself out as a take on the multitude of obsessive cops chasing twisted serial killer movies. Revelling in every cliche those films had to offer it sadly dries up in terms of laughs and the surreal edge that runs through the beginning. Tyler Rice, who plays the detective, does such a convincing job of playing to those cliches here that it sometimes makes you wonder if he was not in on the joke. Playing up against Cornack’s deadpan, quiet performance they both manage to dampen the offbeat tone and humour rendering the best part of the film a dry slog that springs into life not half as much as it should.
There are flashes of inspiration scattered throughout. The reveal of Detective Fox realising the full extent of Chip’s sphincters highly developed skill for storing objects away could be one of the funniest moments on a cinema screen this year. The surreally hellish sights in the latter half of the film are memorable at the least. It is doubtful you will similarly see anything onscreen for some time if ever again. At one hundred minutes, however, it overstretches itself, much like Chip does. Reminiscent of TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES with its comedic yet nightmarish approach to a situation taken to a ridiculous extreme, it finds itself lacking in comparison, especially with what that show accomplishes in its brief running time per episode. Expanded itself from a short on Cornack’s YouTube channel Tiny Cinema, it shows that the film could maybe benefit from an edit that would bring the films more surreal aspects to the forefront more often.
It is a gag that has been seen in SOUTH PARK. To attempt it in a live-action film instantly gets the attention of those with interest in the more WTF end of bizarro and ridiculous cinema and to be honest with those who might get a particular kick out of such a premise. The latter will probably walk away severely disappointed, but for the former, the film’s utter commitment to its outrageous premise should garner it a lean cult following.