That was the funniest line in the movie, and sadly the movie is just OK. I was upset when I heard that Lions Gate was going to dump this flick on DVD. I even wrote Joe Drake an email pleading that it get a regular release. (he's probably laughing at me right now) I stood in line with a butt load of folks to see the midnight screening last night at the Nuart in Los Angeles. I stood next to the director. I was standing near the writer too (who seemed either drunk or stoned when he first walked in, but then, maybe that's just how he is on the regular). I was excited. This was the one time it would play in a theater near me.
I saw it.
A couple of problems for me.
1. Pacing. There seemed to be scenes that slowed the story down and derailed the momentum. I wanted to feel like the protagonist was spiraling into a world that he should not have knowledge of, and yet he is drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Perhaps more editing. Especially the love scenes.
2. The Girlfriend. Men, please stop making women in your movies cliché, shrill and annoying. There were forced love scenes and quite frankly, the actress added to the slow pacing. She should've been proactive and supportive of the leads journey into hell. And do we need to see women falling down while running away YET AGAIN?! Conflict is essential in a story, but it should be natural conflict that pushes the story forward, not contrived and coming off as nagging. Every time she came on screen I just waited for her to get off screen to get our guy back into the story. Side note, I thought Brooke Shields should've been the chick. She was great. Cold. Calculating. The type that would push her man further into the pit. That's the woman the lead needed, and he got the stereotypical girly-girl. Boo!!!! 3. The Butcher. He was creepy, but I felt that we shouldn't have seen him fully until halfway through the movie. The scary moments in any film is the fear of not knowing. In this movie we got glimpses of the Butcher, creating tension and fear for Kaufman. But soon after we see him fully as a regular human who kills people, it moved from horror into a slasher-suspense movie. It should've been more than that. The supernatural element should've been pushed more with The Butcher. The short story presented something epic and ancient in scope. The Butcher was a necessary job that had to be done to keep The City running. Once the film became a simple slasher-gore fest (which is not bad in any movie as long as the story works with it and we care about the leads), the Butcher just became a run-of-the-mill serial killer, no different than Jason, Michael Meyers or Freddy Fruger. Those guys did their killings for revenge. The Butcher has to kill to keep order in the human world. Just like ancient Greeks and Romans and other cultures that made human sacrifices to appease the Gods, an offering if you will.
That was the reveal in the short story. In the movie, he just kills for some nasty monsters we barely see at the end. Bad! The Butcher had noble work to do. Nasty work yes, (like any butcher in real life who kills the meat for society to consume. Most people eat burgers and steaks without thinking about what has to be done to the animals that provide that great meal. Please, go visit a slaughterhouse.)but it must be done for the rest of us to survive. This movie missed that point at the end.
4. Some of the kill sequences were just there to see how cool the CGI effects could be done. It stopped being scary to becoming typical Eli Roth/Saw 3-5 schlock. How many cool ways can we kill a person? Horror, to me anyway, should be horrific, not funny. Once it becomes funny at the expense of not really scaring people, then you've lost me. Granted, one of the funniest lines in the movie was when the subway train conductor tells Kaufman (after the train has ended its run) "Please, step away from the meat." The humor is surreal and it works at that moment because of the banality of the line. The conductor could've been saying, "Please step away from the ramp/shoe/dog etc". The conductor has a job to do, and so does the Butcher, so please step away from our work. Classic.
All that said, the movie is a mixed bag. I'd be curious to see what Clive Barker had to say. The film looks great, nice atmosphere, set design etc. I might've recast the two leads, but I'm glad I got to see it in a theater. I had the opportunity to get a real movie experience with the film.