"Brutal" is a decent if not exactly spectacular entry.
After a wave of bizarre mutilations, Sheriff Jimmy Fleck, (Jeffrey Combs) and his Deputy Zoe Adams, (Sarah Thompson)try to keep the community safe from the mysterious killer. When the killings continue, they try harder to solve the crimes, putting their affair on hold to solve them. Unable to find a way of doing they, they decide to solve the killings. With the help of Leroy Calhoun, (Michael Berryman) they eventually find the murders has a pattern to them, in that there's a flower around each one who's seeds are tied into everything, and quickly race to stop the next intended target on the list from becoming a victim.
The Good News: There was a couple of good things about this one. One of the big areas is that the film has some really graphic kills in here, much more than expected. Several are cut up with a chainsaw, including one in half at the waist, one is stabbed in the throat with a large metal rod and is later forced out the other side of the throat, a couple of impalings with a tree pruner to the stomach, a whole slew of hearts ripped out and hedge-clippers stabbed in the back of the neck, among others, leaving it with a satisfactory sense of gore. The aftermath is also nice as well, and there's also the film's inclusion of the flowers on the bodies, which is another good point. The film's big twist with the killer, where they use a special secret about flowers as the basis for the victims in the spree. This is ingenious, original, innovative and comes with a highly entertaining and well-thought-out revelation sequence that nicely ties in all the evidence in a nice bundle. The other plus to this one is the fact that the film has some rather nice confrontations with the killer, as the scenes of them around town playing with the oblivious victims are a little comical at times. These here are the film's best parts.
The Bad News: There's only a couple flaws in here, but they are significant. The main fact is that the film decides to focus on the killer for the duration of the film. We know who the killer is when the film starts, so there's no suspense to be had from trying to use the clues to solve it along with the detectives, the scenes of them interacting with the victims are comical rather than suspenseful and it doesn't generate anything, which tends to play heavily against a film. There's also a point where most of the attacks taking place at night are way too dark to see a whole lot. It's incredibly hard to spot what happened for most of those scenes and it detracts from the film. The last, and it's biggest one to overcome is the incredibly unneeded and unnecessary subplot involving the two detectives in their affair. This doesn't do anything for the film other than fill the beginning with endless scenes of the two of them making innuendo at each other but not capitalizing on it, or later scenes where the case has taken priority and talk turns to making the relationship into a more normal one, not exactly some of the most enjoyable or entertaining avenues to explore for a film. It just makes the film incredibly hard to get into and dull to sit through once it has, two factors which nearly cripple this one detrimentally and are the biggest issues to overcome, along with the rest of the film's flaws.
The Final Verdict: Not exactly the worst entry made, but it's big flaws are somewhat distracting and do serve to knock it down some. Give it a shot if it sounds interesting or if this is the kind of film you find a lot of enjoyment from, while those who prefer more straight-forward slashers should seek caution.
Rated R: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language and Brief Nudity