Bunnyman Massacre, also known as Bunnyman 2 (BM2) will be making its way to DVD and VOD across North America in August of 2014. The film is a sequel to the 2011 cult hit Bunnyman which gained notoriety from the press as well as frequent plays on the cable TV channel CHILLER. The sequel was written, directed, and produced by Carl Lindbergh. The film stars David Scott in the role of Joe, the Bunnyman’s vocal partner in crime; Julianne Dowler as Sarah, the sister who will do anything to preserve her family; Jennifer June Ross as Lauren, the sister who fails to appreciate the value of opportunity’s knock; Joshua Lang as the horrifying Bunnyman himself; and Marshal Hilton who played the likable Sheriff Clint Baxter.
I’ll mention first that BM2 is reported to be a vast improvement over Bunnyman (2011) which maintains a 3.0/10 rating on IMDB. Many of the complaints reported by fans pertained to things like visual quality, plot holes, story, and acting elements – none of which I would complain about in Bunnyman 2. The sequel stood remarkably well on its own as an independent title, which is fortunate as I haven’t yet taken in the original. Honestly, despite the poor reviews I was thrilled for the opportunity to see a film about a murderer in a rabbit suit. Although I have been known to critique other films, including slashers, for flaws in those elements I wanted to cut BM2 some slack and give it a chance. Usually when I complain about victims who are stupid to the point of not being believable or poor acting it’s for films where the primary antagonist doesn’t spend the duration of the film in a shopping mall Easter Bunny costume (I believe in maintaining perspective).
I really loved this addition to the budding Bunnyman franchise (The third movie is in production). My first introduction to the film was seeing the poster on the Midnight Releasing website, and the movie didn’t disappoint. Within the first ten minutes I was in love with the equally lethal and versatile Bunnyman (Lang). BM2 does not drag its feet, which is something that I value greatly. There are few things that I find more tedious in horror projects than watching an hour of a family camping trip that turns to a surprise blood bath in the last 30 minutes. BM2 leads the viewer to expect a bizarre blood fest and it delivers! The basic premise is that a murderer named Joe (Scott) teams up with a murderer in a rabbit suit to kill nearly everyone they come into contact with. As the death count grows higher, Joe is able to stock his store shelves with more bags of jerky.
Unlike some older slasher films that come to mind, I liked the fact that a large chunk of air time is devoted to Joe and the Bunnyman. The viewers get to see the villains both before and after killing sprees throughout the film. This practice is an interesting diversion from other (more or less) reality-based movies like Psycho or the original Friday the 13th where little is revealed about the killer until the end of the film. I appreciated the opportunity to get a better look at the maniacs as they interacted with one another not only while they hunted and tortured their prey, but also while they chatted at the dinner table. What the characters lacked in what we traditionally regard as depth or development, they made up for by being shown in a multitude of scenarios. Joe was a hateful boss, a weird shop keep, an intimidator, disrespectful to police and women, and defiant to a fault. Those different facets of his personality and behavior were pivotal in better understanding and appreciating him as a character. Likewise, the Bunnyman was a ruthless killer, but he also demonstrated caring for an animal, and varying levels of both frustration and helplessness when he was faced with conflicts with Joe.
The victims from BM2 were predominantly female. Like most slashers, most of their decisions were questionable at best, but they were the kind of bad calls that I have grown accustomed to over the years while further delving into horror. You know the type of decisions I’m referring to. ‘Why run outside when you can climb something?’ or ‘Why stay put when the killer enters the room when you can knock something over with a sudden, unnecessary movement?’ These types of mistakes, while foolish, can be attributed to what comedian Eddie Izzard refers to as the removal of common sense glands which for a long time has appeared to be mandatory for horror characters.
I highly recommend BM2, and not JUST because it supported my irrational unease around men in Easter Bunny suits. David Scott did an excellent job with the role of Joe. He had to speak in excess to counteract the Bunnyman’s eerie silence. He was able to play a character who could have easily fit into the backwoods hick turned psycho cannibal trope as someone from rural Virginia. I can say with the utmost confidence that he didn’t oversell it. Joshua Lang was equally impressive as the Bunnyman. He was able to convey so much as the furry killer without the aid of dialogue. A tilt of that giant rabbit head at the wrong moment or too far in a given direction could easily break the mood of scenes, and he did superbly with that profound responsibility. Julianne Dowler who played Sarah was easily my favorite ‘target’. She was both fierce and fearful, and was able to command whichever was required for the task at hand. Sarah (Dowler) was the one that I felt had the most distinctive personality in her character, despite the looming flatness that always threatens the victims in slasher films. I look forward to seeing more work from everyone involved, especially Bunnyman 3!