Butt Boy is a tough movie to review. It’s unique and tries hard to set itself apart, and boy does it achieve it, but not every idea lands as convincingly as it should’ve in the process. To be honest, any movie trying to push itself out there touting the story of a man that can make things disappear by shoving them up his butt will have a hard time setting up viewer expectations. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t really know what it wants to be either and this makes the entire experience come off as quite dull.
Directed by Tyler Cornack, Butt Boy follows a man named Chip Gutchel (played by Cornack himself) who discovers his butt possesses a powerful suction cavity that houses anything that gets put up in it. By anything I mean anything. Remote controls, soap, dogs, and even kids. The latter serves as one of the main conflicts of the movie.
Gutchel’s butt power is one of two points of view the story delves into. The second centers on Russell Fox (played by Tyler Rice), an alcoholic detective investigating a missing child’s case who suspects the kid’s located inside Gutchel’s butt. The two characters meet in an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting, where Fox is assigned Gutchel as his sponsor.
When I first watched Butt Boy’s trailer I felt like it promised a bizarre movie with hints of dark comedy thrown in to fully embrace the weird jive it clearly wanted to run with. I guess I expected a crazier and even more off-kilter experience based off of that. Instead, what I got was a very slow, neo-noir-tinged horror movie that for the most part takes itself too seriously and doesn’t really explore the body horror possibilities that were literally staring at its face.
For starters, Chip Gutchel is a pretty dull character for a guy with his unique ability. He looks bored for most of the film, which is kind of the point, and doesn’t really complement the intensity of his counterpart, Detective Fox. Cornack doesn’t really bring much in terms of character to Chip Gutchel to make him memorable, besides the whole butt thing (which really feels like a joke from the start all the way to the end–a thing Cornack has never shied away from admitting according to the PR).
Detective Fox, on the other hand, is by far the more enticing character. Tyler Rice hits on all of the character’s imperfections and turns him into a piece of the story that is in constant development, from his battle with alcoholism to his failed marriage. It all drives him even further to solve the missing child’s case and it allows for some very entertaining sequences.
The problem is that the movie tries to afford the same character development to Gutchel, who isn’t nearly as interesting. The man’s permanent ‘bored with life’ demeanor could’ve been interesting if he had been shown really getting the most out of the pleasure he gets from disappearing things up his butt, but instead it’s played like an addiction that doesn’t really do much other than give him a moment’s worth of satisfaction.
I get that this idea aims at comparing Gutchel’s vice with alcoholism and how certain addictions affect one’s life, but the story could’ve taken it further, and the opportunities were there to do so. The movie has a few impressive sequences where Gutchel’s and Fox’s lives play out simultaneously with quick shifts in perspectives. We see Fox doing detective things while Gutchel goes about living his boring and troubled life, despite the butt stuff. These sequences stand out and were well-realized. A bit more of this could’ve fleshed out the story more and allowed for more character development, especially from Gutchel’s side.
The movie looks great, visually. The more neo-noir aspects of the film come in the form of neon-like lighting that favors dark reds and blues. Camera shots get close in on characters and feel somewhat claustrophobic in parts, to great effect. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mesh well with the more horror aspects of the story.
I don’t even know that I’d call this a horror movie entirely. It’s a combination of things that just make this movie what it is: a funny premise that ran on for too long. The movie is just weird, but it is a kind of weird best suited for a short film, which Butt Boy started as (and it shows). The joke is stretched so much that its contributions become less and less interesting. There is one sequence, involving Guchel’s butt, that was interesting and changed the dynamic of the movie for a bit, but it was too little too late.
Weird movies such as Butt Boy tend to find a niche crowd that elevates them into cult following territory. The films that achieve that, though, tend to bring something to the table beyond the gimmick that makes them worthy of the cult. Beyond the butt hijinks, Butt Boy doesn’t have a lot to add. Maybe it’ll become a cult hit, maybe it won’t. Right now it’s a curiosity that might merit a watch so long as you don’t expect anything special.
Butt Boy is slated for an April 14 release on VOD.