In one of the biggest ‘mileage will vary’ premises in years, Tyler Cormack (Tiny Cinema) brings us a genre bender that he once described as the opposite of parody. Instead of a straightforward narrative where absurd things happen, Butt Boy follows an absurd story where everyone involved plays it completely straight. Cormack’s experience with Tiny Cinema pays off as he’s able to effectively communicate the premise through a tight, exposition-free opening act.
Cormack pulls double duty as the lead character, Chip, a bored IT engineer (as if there’s another kind) mired in the mundanity of his work and home life. But after a routine prostate exam kicks off a sexual re-awakening, Chip becomes obsessed with, as the title suggests, inserting things in his butt. As the objects increase in size and absurdity, you begin to realize that they aren’t ‘re-appearing’ (as if you’d want them back in the first place, but that’s neither here nor there).
Cormack manages to communicate Chip’s escalation in the same efficient way that you’d expect from someone with a long history of making short films while also sparing the audience of ‘object’-porn and/or unrealistic special effects. Once Chip realizes his obsession has gone too far, Cormack jumps forward in time. Chip has joined AA as a way of managing his anal addiction and becomes a sponsor for Detective Russel Fox, played by Tyler Rice. Rice looks like he just finished in third place in a Christian Bale lookalike competition and also appeared in numerous Tiny Cinema episodes.
By the second act, it becomes impossible not to notice that Butt Boy is visually stunning. Shot on an Arri Alexa Mini, and exquisitely lit, cinematographer William Morean turns in a stunning body of work. As hard as it may be to believe, a movie about butt stuff just might be among the best shot movies of the year. Major studios and producers should take notice of this whole filmmaking team.
Ironically, the film pairs well as a double feature with Society, the 1989 cult classic from Brian Yuzna. Both films make use of straight-laced characters in what turns out to be an outlandish concept. Moreover, both do little to qualify as horror until an outrageous final act. Granted, Butt Boy‘s final 20 minutes takes a more, errr, introspective approach, but nevertheless it becomes impossible to classify the film as anything else.
Overall, Cormack created a rather unique and gorgeous piece of cinema that seamlessly weaves in themes of addiction, recovery, and support around a story that appears to have been started as a joke too crass for Kevin Smith’s podcast. But those with open minds and shameless sphincters will hopefully find deeper meaning by daring to probe a fist of knowledge a bit deeper into the proverbial shitbox.
Butt Boy made its UK premiere at FrightFest Glasgow on March 7, 2020.