BRAXTON (a.k.a. Braxton Butcher) ** UK 2015 Dir: Leo McGuigan 111 mins
Back in the day, bullied teen Tommy Miller donned a mask and an URBAN LEGEND-style Parka to kill friends and family before vanishing and becoming the stuff of urban legend.
In the present, one of the survivors is now a Detective investigating fresh murders on the tenth anniversary of the original massacre. BRAXTON’s killer apes the movements of Michael Myers, and the scenes in which he stalks and kills a familiar collection of genre archetypes (smartarse, bitchy hottie, insensitive Gale Weathers-type, sensitive heroine with tragic backstory) borrow visually from HALLOWEEN and SCREAM. The Irish backdrop lends it a degree of novelty, and it’s refreshing to see teenage protagonists who actually look like real people rather than airbrushed members of the Aryan race. Unfortunately, it too often resorts to the most annoying traits of 21st century American slasher movies: horribly dated self-conscious dialogue (“just don’t have sex”) and dumb, loud fake scares. The police procedural scenes – featuring detectives who look 19 years old – are tediously extended and partly responsible for an outrageous running time of almost two hours (!). Belfast filmmaker McGuigan, making his feature debut, shows directorial promise with a couple of effectively suspenseful set-ups, making evocative use of tight spaces, open spaces, faces at the window and misdirection. He also, sadly, loses much goodwill with an endless climax aping the tediously contrived SCOOBY DOO finales of the SCREAM films, killing any tension stone-dead.
Review by Steven West