There has always been a fine line between the idea of an independent movie and a B-movie. I’m not talking about the term “independent movie” that comes from the splinter studio of a big production company that gets a few big names together for the sake of an artistic film versus the normal blockbuster. I’m talking about true independent movies, with no-name directors, no-name casts, and little money behind it.
Yes, little money behind an independent movie could make it, literally, a B-movie, aka a low-budget movie, but B-movies have much less respect than indie movies because B-movies usually deal with ridiculous action, horror, or sci-fi themes. Sometimes it is good ridiculousness with decent production value. Sometimes it is bad ridiculousness with unbearable production value.
The horror film Bunnyman leans more towards the latter. Surprisingly, it leaned enough towards the good ridiculousness to be given a sequel.
The plot of Bunnyman is like so many horror movies surrounding hillbilly counterculture movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes series. Six teenagers find themselves driving around some country highways, and are terrorized by an unknown truck driver. After being run off the road, the youngsters walk in search of help and are stalked by the truck driver, who happens to be a man in an Easter Bunny costume, wielding a chainsaw. And no, it is not Easter. Eventually we find out that this truck driver is deformed and part of a whole deformed, hillbilly family (except for the sister, who is cute but mentally deformed, aka psychotic.) The Bunnyman hunts down people in this area, kills them, and eats them with his family. Yes, you’ve heard this story before.
One thing that Bunnyman does well is make the events surrounding this movie seem surreal. You have a killer in an Easter Bunny costume, whose family back-story seems to give the impression that rabbits are a big thing due to the 8mm film rolling during the credits. One of Bunnyman’s brothers seems to be some sort of steampunk hunchback medical assistant chimpanzee. Bunnyman’s cute sister seems to have it out for pretty women. And to top it all off, time of day and audio seems to come and go.
Sometimes the surreal nature of the movie works. Sometimes it seems like the director thought he could pass off bad production value as art. He did not.
The only interesting elements of Bunnyman were:
A) Trying to figure out the reasoning why a man would spend every hour, day and night, in an Easter Bunny costume.
B) The insane hillbilly Joe that the teens encounter who seems to be the only person alive that isn’t associated with Bunnyman’s family.
It seems that these two elements may be featured in the coming sequel, The Bunnyman Massacre. Let’s hope the sequel fares better than the original.