Buzzard Hollow Beef Review: Spoiled Beef
We are dead meat after watching this one.
By M.T. Bates
I like bad horror movies. The 70’s and 80’s were filled with bad horror movies so bad that they are amazing, but sometimes, a bad horror movie comes along that is just so bad, it is physically and mentally upsetting.
While doing some research for an upcoming editorial I was working on, I stumbled across a new addition to Amazon Prime Video, Buzzard Hollow Beef. A quick Google search later and it turns out that this movie was selected for multiple film festivals, nominated for multiple awards (including best feature, best actress, and best supporting actor), and even won a FANtastic Award for best special effects. The movie also sits at a 7.2 rating on IMDB. I figured I was in for a nice little indie treat.
When you finish watching a movie that felt like two and a half hours, but realize it was only 75 minutes and you still count that as a win, you know you just endured an awful movie. I’ll give most bad movies the benefit of the doubt in some areas, but this one is just a painful slog as soon as the title card vanishes.
The opening to this movie was a nice little cliché horror trope opening. What looks like the final girl covered in blood running for her life in a field being pursued by someone in the background. Cut to the title card and the last redeeming feature of this movie: the opening score. We then meet Jordan and Paige, two of the “stars” of his movie.
Immediately we can see that this movie is shot in digital and left untouched. It is too clean and bright and just immediately takes you out of the film. Thirty seconds into meeting the first characters and I am already checking out because of how it was filmed, but I pushed on. Jordan, with her newborn son Zack, and Paige sit down at a bar to enjoy a drink before they continue their drive to Jordan’s father’s house for Thanksgiving weekend. Chemistry, poise and, presence are all traits these actresses don’t have, but they shouldn’t feel bad because the rest of the characters share the same flaws.
As we meet the other main characters we notice a running theme that they are all instantly unlikable. Not one character commands your attention or compassion the entire movie. Their awkward The Room level of acting doesn’t help with that. Yes, the acting is that bad, which made me wonder all movie if it was on purpose.
Right from the moment everyone is at the father’s house, they are all drinking beer that Paige bought, tall boys of a local farmhouse ale saison style beer. All 6 of these people are downing these things like water. I found it odd but would later find it out it was pivotal to the plot.
Eventually we get this awful scene in a diner and butcher shop where we meet the Solomons. Local farmers who supply the beef for the town. We get some backstory about the family and learn that they were possibly cannibals back in the 1700’s. It’s a little ambiguous, but I get why. Nonetheless, they are supposed to be the cannibalistic hillbillies this movie promised. They are really sensitive about their beef. Everyone but Paige and her baby partake in the hamburgers at the diner. Why is this important? Well, by the end of the movie it isn’t. It just isn’t.
So after we meet the rest of the characters (Paige’s brother Joel and father Will, the father’s squeeze Barbara, and Bob, who is into Jordan), we are thrown into the most unnecessary and out of place shooting montage set to a cover of KISS’ Love Gun. Why is this scene here and why is it so long? Why was I not heeding the warnings this movie was throwing at me?
Quickly after we get the father and Bob sitting on the couch watching what I can only assume is hockey. This scene sticks out because it is the most unrealistic sports conversation I have ever heard, which is why I am bringing it up. What this movie likes to do is give you a ridiculous scene that makes no sense and lulls you into false hope that no more scenes like this will pop up, but then they pull the rug out from underneath you and give you an even worse scene.
Enter Joel and Bob in the bedroom. Just for context, they are friends, Joel invited Bob for Thanksgiving. The house doesn’t have enough beds so the boys have to share a bed and the girls have to share a bed. Well, apparently, this filmmaker thought that dudes have jerk-off buddies who like to crank one out together in the same bed. Take that in for a second. This is a scene that thankfully doesn’t play out completely, but this scene is there. It is in the movie, and there is no misunderstanding it or taking it the wrong way. These 2 straight guys have jerked off together in the same bed.
So let’s just press on now. The acting, as I have said, is atrocious. It is even worse when these actors and actresses try to act drunk and high. Words cannot express how bad these scenes truly are and I wish them upon no one. It’s almost as if they don’t know how normal people act at all be it sober or trashed.
So the bulk of this movie takes place on Thanksgiving. Bob has a poultry allergy and so they had to buy a slab of beef instead of turkey. Thanksgiving night, the Solomon family has a hammed up family meeting and is supposed to come off as intense and very TCM/Sawyer Family like but just doesn’t. The father, Ned, then tells his 3 boys they know what they have to do and sends them off. We all assume it is to gather fresh meat to butcher and sell.
At this point in the film we have met all the characters and nothing of note has happened. We got one or two scenes involving a hallucination. Oh yeah, all of these characters have been hallucinating ever since they ate those burgers at the diner, leading us, the viewers, to believe that they were possibly eating human meat and have developed kuru disease in less than 24 hours. Bob even makes reference to the hallucinations and mentions kuru. Anyone who is familiar with the disease, from perhaps watching a good cannibal movie like We are What We Are, would understand this plot point makes no sense. One hallucination scene that was clearly a homage to Poltergeist stands out, but don’t go looking for anything else worth remembering.
We get to the Thanksgiving dinner scene and you will be left aghast at how this filmmaker thinks people eat. The sounds and speed at which these people shovel food into their mouths is pure cartoonish in nature. People do not eat like this ever. Again, was this done on purpose? It has to be at this point.
Eventually, Paige feels sick and runs outside for some fresh air. She is then captured by the Solomon brothers, in what I assumed was supposed to be a suspenseful and scary scene but just came off silly and nonchalant. Paige is now gone for the rest of the movie sans one final scene we will get to in a bit. The other 2 brothers go off into the night to look for more victims as the dimwitted Solomon brother drives away with Paige.
Jordan eventually goes out to look for Paige with Bob and she gets shot in the arm by one of the Solomons. The reactions in this scene were akin to that of a Steven Wright delivered joke. Being shot and hunted apparently isn’t all that scary to these people. I had to rewind the movie just to make sure I really saw the reactions I saw. Panic, terror, fear, and pain all are absent in this scene.
Back at the house the father fumbles around with his phone to try and make one phone call for about 15 minutes (in the most unrealistic “can’t figure out a phone” performance ever), as Joel heads off into the barn to grab some ammo so they can defend themselves. Bob watches from the window as one of the brothers makes his way towards the barn and he decides to go and help Joel. Finally, we get a fight/struggle scene, well, if that is what you want to call it. The filmmakers watched this scene back and thought “This looks good. We don’t need another take. This is the winner hands down.” At this point in the movie, I wasn’t expecting anything earth-shattering, but what we were given in this scene was just down right insulting. It was as if the actors didn’t even want to be in this movie anymore.
The scene ends with Joel dead (maybe?) and the one Solomon brothers dead as well. Bob is now starting to go a little crazy as he heads back to house, because now he feels like he has to protect everyone. Well, the last Solomon finds the corpse of his brother, gets mad, and breaks into the house. He grabs Jordan, but lets her go and feels bad as soon as he hears the baby cry. I'm not making this stuff up. The entire town has this weird fascination with Jordan’s baby which was on display earlier in the movie. Was it all to throw you off and make you think that the town wanted to eat the baby? I don’t even know.
Everything in this movie was done to make you think one thing, all for some twist that in the end that still doesn’t make sense when you look at everything else that has happened.
**The next paragraph contains a major spoiler and plot twist so read at your own risk**
It is about this time we learn that Paige was taken to a hospital. She has been hallucinating from some mold she has been ingesting that is found on yeast, if I remember correctly. The beer turns out to be the true villain in the movie, not the Solomons or the beef. At this point, I was checked out. I felt like I had been on my couch for hours trying to process what I was watching to no avail. Everything in this movie is guesses and maybes. There is no consistency or satisfaction from anything. You seriously hope everyone dies at the end because you have been suffering just as much as them.
The movie ends shortly after with absolutely no payoffs to anything. The opening scene never gets realized and it was only there to throw you off. As far as I can remember, we never see that scene again or are never given any context to its meaning. The Solomons going out on their hunt is never explained. If they are not the villains, why are they kidnapping Paige and bringing her to the hospital? Why did they shoot Jordan? Why is the town so fascinated with the baby? Why does no one in this movie act realistically?
I was mad when this movie ended. It is a complete farce and is bad from start to finish. All of these award nominations had to have come from pity. The hallucinations were okay at best, but not enough to save this movie from the worst acting I have ever seen. Am I missing the “genius” behind this movie or are people so jaded now that they think any drivel is a work of art? There were no horror elements that felt genuine. The bit of comedy they tried to pull off was beyond flat and you seriously hate every single person on screen all movie. Never have I watched a movie this bad. I wanted to walk out of my living room just to make a stand against this movie.
Everything this movie promises you is a lie. I don’t like being so critical of an indie movies, but there is no sugarcoating just how painful this movie is to watch.
The idea of the movie was clever with its twists and red herrings, but nothing is ever fleshed out and realized to any of its potential. They had a good idea, but it seems like that is all they had when they got on set. It’s almost like the director told all his actors, “Crap, we forgot to write a script. JUST WING IT EVERYONE!”
The film's 75 -minute runtime.
It is 75 minutes too long.
Ever have someone tell you, "This movie is so bad dude you have to see it"? Well, this movie is so bad that no one should ever have to see it. I feel bad for whoever paid to help fund this garbage. I feel like I got ripped off for watching it for free on Amazon Prime Video, so I can’t fathom what the investors must feel.