Butchers Book Two: Raghorn (2024)

Rating: C-

Dir: Adrian Langley
Star: Nick Biskupek, Hollie Kennedy, Sam Huntsman, Corgand Svendsen

I’m impressed that Langley can switch from directing Lifetime TVMs like Candy Cane Christmas to this, where a guy gets his dick chopped off in enthusiastic and explicit detail. That may even beat the range of Anthony C. Ferrante, who also does holiday films for Hallmark in addition to the Sharknado franchise. Let’s just hope nobody goes, “Oh, this is by the same man who directed that lovely Homemade Christmas. I’m sure Butchers Book Two will be just as heart-warming.” I mean, the poster below should clue them in. But I’ve learned never to underestimate the stupidity of the average consumer. Just to be clear though: this contains absolutely zero meet cute. Meat, on the other hand…

If you remember the original Butchers, it’s a similar kind of rural nightmare, with city dwellers terrorized by cannibalistic rural folk. This is, presumably, the next generation since the first film took place in 1998. It appears contemporary, which explains why there’s little overlap, with a whole new cast on both sides. In this case, the menu are four criminal types, who are heading towards a destination they won’t reach with their cargo, because a deer – the raghorn of the title – leaps onto their vehicle. It’s not long before this draws the attention of Clyde (Biskupek) and his gigantic, mute companion, Crusher (Michael Swatton, who played a different cannibal in Butchers). If you’re wondering the reason for the latter’s name, you learn it within the first three minutes (top).

Things thereafter proceed much as expected, though we get a… Final Trannie (Svendsen), I guess, because 2024. The impact, however, is considerably less that the first time, in part because you are given little reason to sympathize with any of the victims. The quarter of criminals are almost irredeemable from the start. Josh (Huntsman) is perhaps intended to be the obligatory “nice guy”, in that he stops equally obligatory psycho Rico from shooting an innocent bystander. But to quote my late Scottish mother, “If you fly with the crows, you’ll get shot with the crows.” [Actually, closer to: ‘If ye flee wi’ the craws, ye’ll git shawt wi the craws”] It’s still more characterization than the Final Trannie gets, who is… trans. That’s it.

I will say, the gore is impressive and occasionally spectacular. I never realized that there’s a point on a man’s head where if you squeeze hard, it will blow up. Who knew? The gunshots are similarly splattery, and as mentioned in the first paragraph, there is some genital violence which I kept expecting the camera to shy away from. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t, and I suspect many men will end up crossing their legs, or at least flinching visibly. However, it’s just not enough. While Clyde certainly talks a good game of ultraviolence, for someone living deep in the forest with a silent companion, he certainly loves the sound of his own voice. The same goes for just about everyone else bar Crusher, and that may be why he’s the most effective character.