×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Hamiltons

What appears to be a suburban Donner Party becomes something even more disturbing in the Butcher Brothers' first joint film, "The Hamiltons." Cheeky horror is the tone for this archly surreal telling of how a family of peculiar siblings manages to raise themselves without their late parents.

With:
With: Cory Knauf, Samuel Child, Joseph McKelheer, Mackenzie Firgens, Rebekah Hoyle, Brittany Daniel, Al Liner, Tara Glass, Jena Hunt.

What appears to be a suburban Donner Party becomes something even more disturbing in the Butcher Brothers’ first joint film, “The Hamiltons.” Cheeky horror is the tone for this archly surreal telling of how a family of peculiar siblings manages to raise themselves without their late parents, but the comedy is somewhat more slanted in the tradition of Tobe Hooper than Kevin Williamson. Midnight slots at fests and specialty cinemas are a no-brainer, and vid should spill some blood.

After a context-free opening sequence shows a young woman growing hysterical in a corpse-strewn basement, dissolute teen Francis Hamilton (Cory Knauf) narrates about his need to fit in with his family, and the confusion he feels in the wake of his parents’ sudden (unexplained) deaths.

Eldest bro David (Samuel Child) attempts to run the house, but he’s having a hard time reining in the ultra-aggressive Wendell (Joseph McKelheer), who splits his time between killing people and carrying on an incestuous relationship with his Goth-style twin sis Darlene (Mackenzie Firgens).

A pair of women (Rebekah Hoyle, Brittany Daniel) Wendell has bludgeoned unconscious are hanging by chains in the basement. Near the distressed damsels can be heard the sounds of a growling, unseen creature living in a cubbyhole. It’s all too much for Francis, who records the victims on his ever-present vid cam.

For about as long as it can, “The Hamiltons” refuses to play by most of the genre rules, and is best experienced as a ghoulish comedic take on the post-modern American family, in which the chain of command is up for grabs. For a while, it seems the clan survives by eating its victims, but the best trick deployed by the Butcher Brothers (the showbiz moniker for Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores) is to turn this presumption in a different direction just as Francis endures some macabre changes of his own.

Cast tends to play up the ironies too broadly, but the contained atmosphere of the house (where nearly the entire pic transpires) is an apt metaphor for collective madness. Michael Maley’s high-def lensing tends to wash out colors, which appears to be more a technical flaw than artistic choice.

The Hamiltons

Production: A San Francisco Independent Cinema presentation of an Altieri/Flores and Industrial City Films production. (International sales: Strategic Film Partners, Universal City.) Produced by Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores. Executive producers, Stan Holland, Ira Leemon, Michael Ferris Gibson, Oren Kaplan. Directed by the Butcher Brothers. Screenplay, the Butcher Brothers, Adam Weis.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Michael Maley; editor, Jesse Spencer; music, Joshua Myers; art director, Andrew Casden; costume designer, Alexis Tracy; makeup, Keri Picolla; sound, Nicholas Zasimczuk; sound designer, William Storkson; associate producer, Eddy Murillo. Reviewed at Santa Barbara Film Festival, Feb. 9, 2006. (Also in Cinequest Film Festival.) Running time: 87 MIN.

With: With: Cory Knauf, Samuel Child, Joseph McKelheer, Mackenzie Firgens, Rebekah Hoyle, Brittany Daniel, Al Liner, Tara Glass, Jena Hunt.

More Film

  • Sam Mendes

    Sam Mendes' World War I Drama '1917' Set for Awards-Season Launch on Christmas 2019

    Universal Pictures has given an awards-season release date of Dec. 25, 2019, to Sam Mendes’ World War I drama “1971.” Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is producing “1917” through its DreamWorks Pictures brand. “1917” will open in limited release on Christmas Day then go wide two weeks later on Jan. 10, 2020. Mendes wrote the script [...]

  • Ventana Sur Queer Latin Film Panel

    Ventana Sur: Panel Talks Merits, Setbacks in Latin Queer Cinema

    BUENOS AIRES — Four venerable professionals from the cinema world joined on Monday evening for Queer Cinema In Latin America, a frank discussion on Latin America’s role within the queer filmscape for Ventana Sur’s Industry conference series held at the UCA campus in Buenos Aires. Touching on advancements in character arc and notable achievements in [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez 'Absolutely' Wants to Direct Film and Television

    Jennifer Lopez epitomizes the phrase “she’s done it all” — but there’s still more that the superstar would like to do. Lopez recently directed her first music video, “Limitless,” the track featured on her new rom-com “Second Act,” and it seems the multi-hyphenate has caught the directing bug. “Absolutely, absolutely,” Lopez responded when asked by [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    Rian Johnson's Murder Mystery 'Knives Out,' Starring Daniel Craig, Set for Thanksgiving Release

    Lionsgate has bought distribution rights to Daniel Craig’s murder mystery “Knives Out” and set a Thanksgiving release date of Nov. 27. MRC financed “Knives Out,” directed by Rian Johnson — best known for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Lionsgate will also distribute the pic worldwide. The movie came together during the Toronto International Film Festival [...]

  • The favourite Movie

    Olivia Colman to Be Honored by Palm Springs Festival for 'The Favourite'

    “The Favourite” star Olivia Colman will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award by the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The award will be presented by her co-star Emma Stone at the festival’s awards gala on Jan. 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival, now in its 30th year, runs from Jan. 3 to [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Motion Pictures Academy Announces Scientific and Technical Awards

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced nine scientific and technical achievements, represented by 27 individual recipients, to be honored at the annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation Feb. 9 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. In addition, Curtis Clark will be receiving the John A. Bonner Award for his service [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content