Have you ever found yourself watching a sequel for an original film you'd never seen?
Have you ever found yourself watching said sequel only to immediately think to yourself "Oh man, I have to see the original?"
That's what happened when I got the chance to check out writer/director Carl Lindbergh's Bunnyman Massacre, a sequel to the 2011 release The Bunnyman, a film that received mixed reviews yet was unique enough and possessed enough indie flair to attract quite a bit of attention for Lindbergh and warrant this reportedly much improved sequel. The film has also been known to play in heavy rotation on cable television's Chiller channel.
Having not seen the original film, I can't testify as to whether or not Bunnyman Massacre is a much better film than its predecessor. I can, however, happily report that it is one of the most joyfully demented indie horror films I've seen in quite awhile and a film that had me almost immediately wanting to check out its predecessor.
There are films that you find yourself wanting to talk about almost immediately after you've watched them - Bunnyman Massacre is one of those films.
The Bunnyman character is inspired by the true story of an axe-wielding man in a bunny suit who terrorized residents of Fairfax County, Virginia in 1970. While the phrase "inspired by" is important here given that Lindbergh has gone completely apeshit with the concept, there's something weirdly satisfying about knowing that this completely bonkers of a horror film actually has at least some of its basis in a rather psychotic reality. It's worth noting that Bunnyman 3 is already in production.
The Bunnyman (Joshua Lang) in question is a hideously disfigured guy whom, you have probably surmised, has taken to wearing a bunny suit and, as well, taken to murdering just about anyone and everyone who crosses his path. He's partnered up with Joe (David Scott), who benefits from the killing spree by turning the victims into beef jerky that he sells in his little ole' country store inside the Audie Murphy Motel.
While the body count most certainly piles up, Lindbergh wisely gives us a couple of key figures to obsess about for a good portion of the film - Sarah (Julianne Dowler) and Lauren (Jennifer June Ross), two sisters who start out with a couple of friends but who are rather quickly left to survive to the best of their abilities in any way they can.
Bunnyman Massacre kicks off with a couple of rather over-the-top and completely audacious scenes that are played with a touch of intensity and a splash of B-movie sensibility that makes the scenes effective without being nearly as offensive as they probably should be. The scenes, which should be seen rather than vividly described here, don't quite set the tone for the rest of the film as Lindbergh's script never quite reaches that level of outrageousness again. This doesn't mean that the film weakens, but it definitely becomes a bit more of a traditional indie horror flick made much better by the solid performances of its ensemble cast and the absolutely terrific lensing of D.P. Soraya Selene.
While Lang isn't given quite the range to work with here given that his scenes are played in a bunny suit, he's still an effective and steady presence in the film whose performance shouldn't be underrated. David Scott is memorably menacing and complex without ever becoming softened. Dowler and Ross, in particular, shine as the film's key supporting players.
Bunnyman Massacre is opening nationwide through DVD and VOD outlets with indie distributor Midnight Releasing. For those who might seek a unique and inspired indie horror flick, Bunnyman Massacre is definitely a film you'll want to check out.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic