“Chainsaw” Sally (April Monique Burril) is a bespectacled and slightly condescending librarian by day, and a garden tool-wielding murderess by night. Sally and her younger brother, Rudy, were witness to the murder of their parents at the hands of 3 escaped mental patients when the siblings were just young-uns growing up on the farm. Now that they’re grown, Rudy has a thing for leather collars, fishnets, and shitloads of glitter, and the tragedy has somehow transformed the siblings into goth cannibals, with Sally serving as the pasty-faced hunter/gatherer.
Chainsaw Sally is a prime example of an independent horror film that is disarming in its ability to entertain, almost in outright defiance of its miniscule budget. Writer/director JimmyO Burril’s dialogue is amiably witty and smirk-inducing, particularly in the film’s lazy throwaway filler scenes. As Sally begins her enthusiastic rampage, the off-screen gore is brave and occasionally wince-inducing, not always in your face, but the violence is still strong in its power of implication. JimmyO obviously loves his horror/exploitation movies, an infatuation that is apparent in the Dario Argento eyeball close ups, Texas Chainsaw Massacre sound effects, and his choice to jump cut through a zoom into a corpse’s face just like Hitchcock (or DePalma) would. There’s even some gratuitous nudity, which must be hard to get when you’re paying your actresses in Cheetos.
I don’t think I’ve ever singled out an editor in a review before, but somebody should buy
Sean Paul Murphy a beer for cutting Chainsaw Sally into a sophisticated and well-paced piece of work. Not that the direction wasn’t just fine, but the film has a sense of flow not common in movies with a budget this low, and the editor certainly deserves some of the credit.
As far as the plot goes, there’s a lot of boring narrative nonsense involving some land and a greedy real estate baron and a wealthy Indiana Jones type, but the plot seems vague as a whole, while the cleverness of individual scenes stays with you until well after the film is over. Just slip into the flow of the movie and you’ll find that Chainsaw Sally is a dark and energetic ride with enough humor, depravity, and carnage to please any fan of moody independent horror.