New Horror Releases: Buzzard Hollow Beef (2017) - Reviewed

It’s that time of the season, when families traditionally gather together for Thanksgiving. This year, a new tradition has been born in the cannibal film Buzzard Hollow Beef. It’s one major mind f**k of a movie that is the equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson teaming up with Sam Raimi (the Evil Dead years) to make a Texas Chainsaw Massacre style gore film. With the combination of slick camera work, a great ensemble cast, and outstanding gore effects, this could very well become annual Thanksgiving viewing. 

Single mother Jordan goes to visit her family for Thanksgiving in the small town of Buzzard Hollow, accompanied by her 9 month old child and her best friend Paige. Upon arriving, they meet the Solomon family, a strange group of characters who are overly secretive about the beef they sell in the local restaurant and their butcher shop. When the family suffers from hallucinations, they believe that the meat has been poisoned by the cannibalistic hillbillies. The story is an interesting take on the hicksploitation subgenre, adding in the element of being drugged and having hallucinations coupled with an uncertainty of the real truth. We never know whether the Solomon’s are actually cannibals until all is revealed in the third act. Some viewers may find the first act a little slow, but it was important to thoroughly flesh out and develop these characters. 

The directing and cinematography are excellent. The camera movements and placements were outstanding, especially for the scenes involving characters being in drug induced conditions. It reminded me of some of the wild scenes and camera tricks used in the Evil Dead series. The score uses a variety of music during the film based on the specific situation, but the horror scenes featured a creepy synth score that used pulsating sounds and a synth piano. 

The acting was terrific from the ensemble cast and far exceeded the normal expectations for an indie horror production. They felt like real and believable characters, thrown into a weird situation. The standouts have to be Emily Letts as Jordan and Doug Perkins as Bob. Letts shows a great deal of vulnerability as a single mother struggling to just get by, while also displaying the type of strength we normally see from a “final girl.” Perkins character is the odd man out, who was invited to Thanksgiving by Jordan’s brother. Perkins successfully brings a wide range of emotions in his character’s arc. Saying anymore would spoil too much of the plot. 

When there is gore, it’s impressive. There may not be as much as horror fans would like to normally see, but what’s there looks superb. It should be enough to satiate most horror fans, especially the gruesome homage to the bathroom scene in Poltergeist

Available now on VOD and Amazon Prime, Buzzard Hollow Beef is a marvelously trippy take on cannibalism and hicksploitation. With a fine ensemble cast, dynamite practical effects, and skillfully unique camera work, this is well worth devoting some of your Thanksgiving time to. Save some room and devour Buzzard Hollow Beef

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