I’m happy this movie exists.
It’s grim, shocking and very well-done. Proof that there are filmmakers out there who take their horror very seriously, have a vast pool of talent to draw from, and are not afraid to take risks. That goes without saying when talking about Chad Ferrin, of course. Love him or hate him, he says things in his movies that other artists won’t—not to be “shocking”, but because they might actually need to be said.
In his second pairing with Trent Haaga (the first being the exceptional “The Ghouls”), “Easter Bunny” is about a mentally handicapped teenager, his fixation on Easter, his working mother, her monstrous boyfriend, and a very eerie plastic rabbit mask.
Most low-budget indie guys would take the above ingredients and throw them into the parody stew. “This one’s about a killer in an Easter Bunny outfit! Let’s have him kill a bunch of cheerleaders!” They’d throw a blood-spattered rabbit mask on the cover and have done with it. Ferrin, on the other hand, plays the whole scenario straight. That’s what makes this one a winner.
Ferrin’s script and presentation treats the handicapped protagonist with dignity and isn’t afraid to throw him into some truly horrendous situations. He allows the villainous boyfriend a few moments of actual depth. None of it is for cheap laughs and rarely does he go for the easy way out (though I was shocked that some of the situations played out opposite of my expectations—this is the guy who gave us the Downs Syndrome rapist in “The Ghouls”, after all!)—the working mom isn’t entirely clueless about her unsuitable suitor, the boyfriend may actually give a s**t about her, regardless of how he feels towards her son (and towards the human race in general), the kid isn’t abused, animals aren’t mutilated—no emotional tricks to this story.
The killing scenes, any horror movie’s bread and butter, are well-executed (pardon the pun) though may linger a bit too long. The acting is fine across the board (particularly Muskatell and Stamp, playing the handicapped Nicholas—Haaga appears near the end in an extended cameo that is at the same time creepy and appropriate), and cinematographer Giuseppe Asaro excels, giving every scene a moody, surreal edge.
Sadly (and ultimately), “Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!” is set up to fail. Folks expecting a parody will be put off by the serious and sinister tone—though they’ll love the gore scenes! Folks wanting a well-paced, well-plotted shocker are unlikely to pick up something with “Easter Bunny” in the title. (But then again, there’s no title that’s more appropriate.) Hopefully, a smart distributor out there will take the chance and figure out how to get it into the hands of the people who will appreciate it.