- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Buzzard

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Independent / Drama / Comedy

Language: English

Runtime: 97 min

Director: Joel Potrykus

Writer: Joel Potrykus


Marty is a broke intern who survives through his small money scams. When he pulls a bigger scam than usually on his job, a bank, he has to flee the town. He hides in Detroit and he only brought the most important items - involving his Power Glove and the clothes on his back.

Our thoughts:
It pains me when I realize that not everyone is talking about Joel Potrykus and Joshua Burge's last collaboration, "Ape", which is arguably one of the most fascinating movies of recent years. It's still vividly playing in my mind, at the very least. "Buzzard" is the third installment in their Animal trilogy which started with the werewolf short "Coyote", followed by "Ape".

"Buzzard" is about a bank intern, Marty Jackitansky, who survives by scamming his way for quick cash. Whether it's returning things that he didn't originally buy to get a refund, or even lesser crimes, it's something which is bound to take him down the road path. And so it does, when he finds out what will happen to a bunch of bank checks that he's in charge of finding the recipients of: they're thrown out. Marty sees a way to get a good amount of cash by simply not contacting these people. But it's not quite that easy, and Marty makes like a bird and flies off to Detroit.

Marty is a no-good, lazy nerd and one I would like to root for. I mean... I do, but he's also a major jackass, but in a good way, you know? Joel Potrykus has seen something in Joshua Burge and he seems to know exactly what character to develop for him, because Joshua makes Marty a fantastic bastard to love. He might take the easy path, but he's just being himself and somehow it works for him. In his lowest points, I still find myself relating to him. Possibly because he seems so real, like that weird guy who lives next door.

Joshua Burge brings out an emotional character who seems to be fueled by being confused and bored of the world. He's a scamming joker. He's angry, annoyed, paranoid, and ignorant to consequences. It works so well because we can see through his charade when he feels the most confused. People are driven by their instincts, whatever they may be, and Marty shows the good and bad sides of that.

What's weird with both "Ape" and "Buzzard" is how captivating the movies are. I'm sucked in and following Marty's every step, even if it's just hanging out eating snacks with his loser of a co-worker. There's something more behind the movie, it's not just another slacker flick, it makes you feel liberated somehow. The movie is also very skewed, and like "Ape" it jumps between the stupid to the serious, the ordinary to the twisted, in just a snap of a finger.

The filmmakers aren't shy with showing love for what they enjoy themselves, as we have plenty of video gaming (Nintendo especially), movies (Marty wears a "Demons" shirt, for one) and music (a ton of metal blasting throughout). Yet they could have easily have fallen into making overly referential movies. Instead of having long discussions about movies or music, they make characters that act and look like fans of these things do. They're not force feeding us with references, yet they manage to make much more believable characters that way.

"Buzzard" doesn't go as far out as "Ape" did, but its not without its odd moments. It does feel more developed though, so they've certainly taken another step. I'm curious what they'll do after this trilogy, but whatever it may be I'll be there. There's no reason to skip "Buzzard" whether you watched the last movie or not, but you'd do best if you watch both of them. If this is a slacker movie, then it's the slacker movie for the horror community.

Positive things:
- Joel Potrykus and Joshua Burge is a perfect match.
- Completely captivating.
- A great end to the Animal trilogy.
- The range of emotions delivered both by the character and the atmosphere of the movie.
- Both fun and dark!

Negative things:
- For what "Buzzard" is, there isn't anything negative about it.

Gore: 0.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 3.5/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 3.5/5

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