The Easter bunny is traditionally viewed upon as a symbol of goodwill, of generosity and good times for kids the world over. So when someone walks into your store wearing an Easter bunny mask, it’s got to be a good thing ... right?

Wrong, at least for the store at the opening of Chad Ferrin’s film. The clerk ends up staring down the end of a shotgun barrel before his brains are unceremoniously blown out.

The action then shifts to a small home where doting mother Mindy (Charlotte Marie) tends after her handicapped teenage son Nicholas (Ricardo Gray). She’s a nurse by day, and obviously has her heart very much in the right place. So how come her taste in men is so dire?

Her latest boyfriend is a particularly nasty type, a Ron Jeremy lookalike by the name of Remington (Timothy Muskatell). He’s a slob at the best of times, but leaves his worst behaviour for when Mindy must go to work and he’s left to look after Nicholas. His verbal abuse is genuinely shocking, ranging from telling the lad that his Dad is dead, to constantly barking the term "retard" at him.

Nicholas’ only solace comes in the form of his pet rabbit, and the fact that his favourite holiday – Easter – is just around the corner. He almost seems happy, in the rare quiet moments when he’s left alone in his room with his furry white friend.

But Remington has plans for a good time on Easter Eve, harbouring designs on hiring a couple of hookers while his girlfriend goes out to work. All he needs to lure the hookers to him is a big bag of cocaine. Cue a telephone call to his even sleazier pal, Ray (David Z Stamp).

Ray’s the go-to man when you want sluts ‘n’ drugs. But, with little of his own income to fund such a request, Remington has only one other thing to offer the crippled dealer: Nicholas.

And so, as Remington takes to the town with a bagful of coke and a couple of hot whores, he leaves wheelchair-bound Ray with Nicholas, for a night of promised paedophilia. But no-one was banking on a power tool-wielding killer turning up in a bunny mask ...

As the bodies mount up, the audience is left to fathom out: who is behind the mask?

The title alone suggests that EASTER BUNNY KILL! KILL! is going to be a terrible pastiche of holiday-themed slasher films. But it’s a lot darker than the title implies, playing out an authentically seedy world populated by convincing freaks, prostitutes and scuzzballs. It is, in short, grotesquely disturbing.

The tribulations of Nicholas are what make the first 45 minutes so troublesome. The final half of the film, once the killings finally begin and the splatter arrives, is more conventional in terms of gore dynamics – but no less well-executed at that.

I suppose the big clue as to the tone and impressive visual style of the film (each scene is a calculated blend of off-kilter camera angles and deep coloured hues), is the announcement of Ferrin as the film’s writer and director. He is, after all, the same chap who gave us the seriously demented, unexpectedly stylish and original SOMEONE’S KNOCKING AT MY DOOR.

EASTER BUNNY stays true to Ferrin’s other film, seemingly similar in budget (apparently around $90,000.00 in this instance) and very familiar in terms of visuals. The quirky tone – a mixture of sleaze, black humour, twisted horror and surrealism – also recalls DOOR, in its persuasive evocation of 1970s genre fare.

With such weird and wonderful characters on offer, it would be a shame if the film suffered from crappy performances. Thankfully, Ferrin elicits fine acting from all concerned – especially Muskatell and Stamp. Marie looks great in a nurse’s uniform too. Also, look out for Trent Haaga (who also produced the film) as the kindly transient who first gives Nicholas his rabbit.

But, stylish direction and memorably bizarre characters aside, the thing EASTER BUNNY will most be remembered for is its scenes of literally bone-crunching violence. This is truly gory fare once the bunny-masked murderer gets their toolkit out, and the FX are very good too. After a slow start in terms of grue, the film compensates for this in the final 45 minutes, leading right up to a deliciously sick and twisted finale.

The film comes to UK DVD courtesy of Cine Du Monde. Their disc is region free and presents the film uncut, in a decent anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer. Colours are deep and blacks are well contained, although some imagery is soft at times – due to the low budget origins of the film’s shoot, I’d imagine.

English 5.1 audio works well throughout, bolstering some already deranged scenes of slaughter in the film’s latter half.

An animated main menu page leads into an animated scene-selection menu allowing access to EASTER BUNNY via 16 chapters.

Extras begin with a good commentary track from the affable Ferrin and the laidback Muskatell. It makes for a compelling listen, and is one that budding filmmakers will find particularly insightful. Casting issues, scheduling woes, FX strategies – all are discussed with humour, intelligence and openness.

"Fucked Up" is an appropriately titled 17-minute look at the making of the film. This is almost comedic in its candid portrayal of the flabbergasting strife Ferrin had trying to cast his film, and keep actors from walking out on it once they’d agreed to appear in it. Fascinating.

Finally, we get the film’s original trailer (1 minute and 43 seconds) for completion.

Cine Du Monde have done a good job with their release of EASTER BUNNY KILL! KILL! I like their choice of title too: they’re clearly a distributor to keep an eye on in future.

As for the film itself? It’s gory as fuck, genuinely well-made and quite unlike any other whodunit you’ll have seen.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Cine Du Monde
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review