Plot: Chris (Damien E. Lipp) has been able to build a following for his online videos, thanks to a series that involves various supernatural rituals or legends. As he tracks down these stories about how people have summoned demons or unleashed an evil presence, he then tries to replicate the events and hopefully, capture the paranormal results on camera. Despite his best efforts, the rituals have all failed and no evils were let loose, but the videos became smash successes. His latest project is inspired by a ritual known as “beckoning the butcher” and if the legends are true, he will need the help of some friends this time around. As the group travels to a remote location to try to unlock a doorway into the darkness, will Chris finally get his paranormal footage or is this just another tall tale?
Entertainment Value: This is not one of my favorite genres, but an interesting premise and brisk pace help The Butcher Possessions rise above a lot of the found footage horror movies out there. I like the concept a lot, as it seems believable and the found footage aspect is natural, given what the concept entails. I don’t think this one does much that we haven’t seen before, but it is more kinetic than most of its peers, so it has a more active, engaging presence. So this isn’t the kind of found footage where there’s an hour and twenty-nine minutes of nothing happening, followed by a jump scare, the movie makes an effort to do more than most. This includes a competent narrative, some decent atmosphere at times, and while it might sound odd, it actually has things happen, not just for that final cheap scare. So even if you don’t love the found footage formula, at least The Butcher Possessions isn’t dull, which is more than I can say for most of the movies in this genre. I still can’t give it a strong recommendation, but fans of found footage horror shouldn’t overlook this one.
One element that helps The Butcher Possession have a different feel is a combination of the in the moment found footage elements and some interviews, presented as if the participants are looking back on the events that transpired. I appreciate the effort to mix things up, but the interviews tend to slow down the movie and disrupt the pacing, which is problematic. Not that the scenes are bad or the performances are lacking, they’re just ill timed in most cases and throw off the main narrative push, which is where the film is strongest. The movie runs about 70 minutes, so there’s not much time to burn and the divided approach is makes things a little inconsistent. The cast is fine, on par with what you’d expect from an indie found footage movie. Damien E. Lipp captures the vibe of a YouTuber and that was crucial to his character, so his performance is capable, if not all that memorable. The cast also includes Tristan Barr, Sophie Wright, Tilly Legge, and Peter Flaherty.