Review By Danno
This one took me a while to write because, going into it, I’d never actually watched a full Bunnyman movie before. That said, I had to catch up on the series before I felt I could do a proper write up of the third installment of what I’ve found to be one of the more bizarre but strangely enjoyable slasher series that I’ve seen in awhile. Bunnyman (alternately Bunnyman Massacre) was a straight slasher/torture gore fest in the classic vein of such films as Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Hatchet. Bunnyman 2 (alternately Bunnyman Resurrection) was exactly what you’d expect from a new slasher franchise with some over the top, almost pointless scenes of barbarism including a school bus rampage that, as a parent, I probably shouldn’t have laughed so hard during.
But Bunnyman Vengeance (Bunnyman 3) features none of the heart or special effects magic of the originals which is disappointing to say the least. Let me explain.
Bunnyman Vengeance opens with 8mm footage of the Bunnyman being set on fire by a group of kids and then wandering around disfigured only to be tormented by more children. Sort of explains his desire to chop his way through a school bus. From there he ends up with a “family” that runs a haunted attraction out of an old junk yard. But that’s where the story begins to break down. There is no clear explanation as to his relationship with the three men other than the fact that they’re the same boys who lit him on fire decades earlier. The quartet is in the midst of a murder and robbery spree using the bodies of the Bunnyman’s victims as props and set dressing for their haunted house. Every time a new character or group of characters is introduced into the mix, presumably as the protagonists, they’re quickly cut down leaving only the chainsaw wielding maniac or the trio of torturous psychopaths as the “hero” of the tale. To make the almost nonsensical plot even worse, the only “special effects” we see used in the movie are sprays of fake blood erupting from off screen as someone else is sawed down. The rest of the effects are cheap CGI that look more like a SnapChat filter than they do actual enhancements to a film.
Look, I’ve watched a lot of low budget movies. I love low budget movies. I’m a diehard Troma fan and I can appreciate a lot of poor acting and effects work if there’s a good story buried underneath it all. And there’s a lot that is cool and amusing about a man in a bunny suit slaughtering his way through the hills of California. I also pride myself on being able to find the best in what others would call a bad movie. There are redeeming moments about Bunnyman Vengeance, some even outright entertaining and funny. But overall there is a distinct lack of a coherent plot and when coupled with lousy CGI effects and inconsistent sound mixing makes this movie a chore at points to endure rather than a fun, exciting slasher flick.
So, is there anything redeeming about Bunnyman Vengeance, Danno?
As a matter of fact, there is.
While it isn’t seen terrible often throughout the film, the makeup work done on both the young Bunnyman and the older Bunnyman to show the extent of the scarring left by the fire is phenomenal. The blisters along the arms, especially, on the younger version of the character look uncomfortably real and made me cringe every time I saw them. At the very end of the film we also get a glimpse at the Bunnyman’s face as he watches the sunset. His eyes are almost completely black, like a rabbit’s, and recessed behind flakes of charred black skin that would easily make him horrifying to run across without the dirty, disheveled bunny suit.
There’s also a trippy, drug induced hallucination about halfway through the movie that Bunnyman suffers to the tune of “Machinist of Joy.” The montage plays out like some bizarre 90’s, Euro-Metal music video and is the only point in the movie where the low end CGI works to it’s advantage. Honestly, it’s worth the rental for that scene alone.
As a writer and avid film watcher, I can see where the plot was going and what the intention was behind it. They wanted to finish off the legend of Bunnyman by painting the character as a tortured soul who finds peace. By putting him in a more human light they make one final, half assed attempt to portray him as the true victim of the rampant slaughter he’s caused over the course of three films which just doesn’t work for me. I’ve been able to identify with monsters in other films before but making me feel sympathy for a deluded psycho on a killing spree is hard to do. Honestly, they achieved perfection with Bunnyman Massacre in 2011. There was no need to tamper with it. Watch Bunnyman Vengeance just to say you’ve completely the series and, if I’m wrong, let me know.