Review by Sean Boelman
Written, directed by, and starring Tyler Cornak, Butt Boy is a surreal new comedy-thriller that will go down in midnight movie history, for better or worse, thanks to its truly bizarre concept. However, since the film has a surprising amount of emotional grounding and some legitimately creative filmmaking, it deserves to be taken more seriously than the title would suggest.
The movie follows an alcoholic detective as he begins to suspect that his AA sponsor is involved in the disappearance of a young boy and has the power to absorb things through his rectum. Ultimately, the film is more a noir-influenced thriller than anything else, but the unabashedly weird nature of the premise gives it a welcome tongue-in-cheek spin.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the movie is that the script by Cornak and Ryan Koch isn’t particularly well-paced. The introduction of the film focuses on the character who would eventually become the de facto antagonist, providing an origin story of sorts that is amusing but unnecessary. The movie arguably would’ve been more effective had the audience been left in the dark to solve the mystery alongside the detective protagonist.
That said, Cornak and Koch do a solid job of building the characters in a unique and compelling way. Although there isn’t much of a mystery in the plot, there is some ambiguity in how the audience is supposed to feel about the characters. Yes, they commit some reprehensible wrongs, but they have some tragic flaws that led them to their actions.
The film undoubtedly has something to say about addiction, and while it can be difficult to approach the movie with a straight face at times, this lends it a much-needed human element. Cornak and Koch may not have anything extraordinarily insightful to say, but it has a lot more on its mind than one would expect.
Cornak also stars as the eponymous sodomite, and he does a solid job in the role. Part of what makes the film stand out is that everyone in the cast takes the movie at face-value despite the evident absurdity in the script. The result is something even funnier than if the filmmakers had simply goofed around and had fun. Tyler Rice is strong as well in a performance that channels the old-school detectives of noir classics.
Also impressive is the film’s creative visuals. The movie is visibly a low-budget independent feature, but Cornak is able to use the camera effectively enough to disguise this. Among the most satisfying sequences of the films is one that takes place within the character’s intestines, and the way in which Cornak translates this to the screen is definitely unique.
Butt Boy has a lot working against it to keep it from audiences, starting with its title. But that niche of midnight movie-lovers is sure to find something to love in this irresistibly idiosyncratic genre picture.
Butt Boy hits VOD on April 14.