Published on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

** Contains Spoilers **

As anyone who knows horror will tell you, empathy is key. The more an audience empathises with the characters, puts themselves in their place and assumes their plight, the greater their emotional investment. When bad things happen to the characters the audience cares. Conversely, when the characters do stupid things or behave in ways the audience wouldn’t, they get frustrated. BUNNYMAN is one long exercise in frustration.

Six friends, three male and three female, driving along an otherwise deserted country road find themselves menaced by a sinister truck. First it won’t allow them to pass, then it overtakes them when they do. It isn’t long before it’s ramming them and they’re forced off the road. So what do the men in the car do? Take advantage of their superior numbers and justifiable indignation to kick some ass and take some names? Hell no. They send out one of their (skimpily dressed) girlfriends to offer a whimpering apology to the truck driver.

It get worse. Over the next 80 minutes not one of them is able to make a single informed or sensible decision, even when they start dying. One moment of head-shaking stupidity follows another, until every last shred of audience empathy has evaporated and you’re left with the unwavering conviction that they deserve everything they get.

At least the killer’s cool, right? He’s a guy in a bunny suit carrying a chainsaw – how could he not be cool? Director Carl Lindbergh was clearly aiming for a warped DONNY DARKO vibe, without realising that a little production design goes a long way. A guy in a generic store-bought bunny suit doing bad things is still a guy in a generic store-bought bunny suit. Oh, and another thing – just because you set torture to classical music doesn’t somehow make it profound.

 BUNNYMAN is a shambles. The victims are idiots and cowards and the killers one-dimensional caricatures lacking even basic motivation. The film is an exercise in violence and depravity for its own sake, with an ending that must rank as one of the least effective and dramatic in the history of horror cinema. A significant entry in the annals of pointless movies that need never have been made.


Score: 2 out of 5
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