Monday, April 13, 2020

Dearest Review: Anal-ize This

Prostate exams have been the butt of jokes since the first proctologist lubed up and said "bend over". They've paid the bills for stand-up comedians and comedy screenwriters for years now, but a unique new independent film (available tomorrow on demand) has taken this standard medical procedure for men of a certain age and turned it into the starting point for a wild trip, not down a rabbit hole, but up a whole other kind of hole. And the title of this surreal mix of serial killer thriller and Cronenbergian body horror? Butt Boy.

No, Butt Boy is not a lame-ass member of the X-Men or an ambient instrumentalist who specializes in music to fist by, he's just a sad sack schlub of an everyman named Chip Gutchell, played by Tyler Cornack, the film's director and co-writer (with Ryan Koch). Chip has all the makings of the kind of guy neighbors would call "normal" and "average" before saying "I didn't know he had that in him": a shrewish wife, a dead-end job and a distinct lack of purpose. But all that changes with a routine doctor visit; with just one digital penetration of his sphincter, Chip discovers the joys of anal play. And just a K-Y'ed finger won't do. Soon, the remote control is missing and the family pet is nowhere to be found. Chip is out of control, and it quickly becomes apparent that his newfound, unbridled lust for finding more and larger objects to shove up his bum will soon have a body count.

Who's Sorry now?

Cut to nine years later and Chip is a reformed self-sodomizer who covertly uses Alcoholic Anonymous meetings to squelch his rectal cravings. It is here that he crosses paths with Russell Fox (Tyler Rice, channeling Christian Bale), a burnt-out police detective with a tragic past and "seen it all" attitude. Chip becomes Russell's AA sponsor, and not a moment too soon as Chip falls off the butt-stuff wagon and right into Russell's suspicious gaze. An ill-fated "Take Your Kid to Work Day" later and Russell quickly discovers that Chip is harboring a dangerous secret in his derrière... and he'll have to enter the (literal) bowels of hell to get to the bottom of this mystery.

From the stark typeface of its opening credits to its mood-setting electronic score (also by Cornack and Koch), Butt Boy is purposefully stylized as a throwback to early-80s low budget sci-fi/horror flicks; it would have been right at home on the Blockbuster Video shelves next to such beloved schlock classics as Repo Man, Re-Animator and Basket Case. Cornack's commitment to delivering this absurd story completely with a straight face is admirable (even the film's shockingly-sole fart gag is treated as a life or death situation), although a little bathroom humor here and there wouldn't have been unwelcome in a movie called Butt Boy.

Dearest Rating: 7/10

Butt Boy available on demand from iTunes on Tuesday April 14. Watch the trailer here.

Review by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

No comments: