d./w. Leo McGuigan; p. Leo McGuigan, Margaret McGoldrick; cast: Shaun Blaney, Jenna Byrne, Vicky Allen, Diona Doherty, Andrew Stanford, Ciaran McCourt, Joshua Colquhoun, Rachel Morton
This superior slasher starts out pretty generic, distinguished only by its Northern Ireland setting and accents, but perks up considerably in its third act. A bunch of teenagers who act like they’re in an American high school are knife-fodder for Tommy Miller, an off-the-peg psycho in a mask and parka. Ten years ago he slaughtered his schoolmates at a town hall dance, now he’s back. Or is it a copycat? The police procedural aspects are more enjoyable than the teen soap opera, though not helped by both detectives looking confusingly similar. A pair of nerds inject a soupcon of sub-Scream postmodernism into the proceedings which culminate at another town hall dance, attended by about nine extras. It’s a tad too long at 110 minutes but well made despite a largely neophyte cast and teenage director. Yes, it ticks boxes – but with some admirably impressive ticks. Shot in Belfast in 2014 as Braxton, it premiered in Kentucky in October 2015 and was retitled The Butchering for its US release.