By Chaz Lipp
Brand new on DVD and VOD from Midnight Releasing is Joston Theney’s cheap but hilarious slasher flick Axeman (originally titled Axeman at Cutter’s Creek). Not only did Theney direct and co-write, he’s also part of the ensemble cast. This seems to have been made for the lowest budget possible to still wind up with something releasable. While the kills are sort of sparse for the first two-thirds of the film, the dialogue is so loaded with over-the-top humor (most of it sexual in nature) that the movie winds up being pretty darn entertaining.
Axeman is one of those “a group of friends hike out to a cabin in the woods and get mowed down by a psycho” movies. There’s nothing all that interesting about the title character, except for the imposing physicality of the guy playing him: retired NBA star Scot Pollard. Nine friends are trying to enjoy a drink- and sex-fueled outing at Cutter’s Creek (set in the picturesque Big Bear Valley in the San Bernardino National Forest, CA). Everything’s going fine until they become increasingly scared after learning of the “local legend” known as the Axeman. We never really get any sense of what drives this killer, who remains intriguingly placid – even while manually removing one victim’s brain. The blood and gore is actually relatively minimal, with many effects achieved by editing sleight of hand. Anyone looking for a true abundance of guts and dismemberment will likely feel cheated.
There’s also surprisingly little T&A on display, so keep that in mind too. But what kept me watching were the interactions between the unlikely “friends” (some of them don’t get along too well). For some reason the slovenly horndog, appropriately named Randy (J. Scott) is tagging along with this group, despite being the butt of their jokes. He’s got some of the most groaningly over-the-top dirty lines, often delivered while making plans to videotape his cabin mates in their private time. Tammy (Jamie Bernadette) and Liz (Erin Marie Hogan) are the requisite lesbian couple, primarily fueling Randy’s fantasies. Darren (Theney) has designs on Vivian (Eliza Kiss). Their flirtations actually approach something approximating tenderness, until that mood is shattered by one of Axeman’s sickest, funniest gags. Describing it would take the fun out of it.
Axeman is a bad movie, no doubt about it, but it’s knowingly bad. The soap opera-esque, unmoderated couples’ therapy feel of some scenes helps keep things interesting. Those with a taste for cheesy, campy, sophomorically humorous horror flicks should give it a shot. Having recently watched one of the latest “found-footage,” major studio theatrical releases, Devil’s Due, I can honestly say that Axeman was more fun (not that this is found-footage, just pointing out that this sort of throwback fares better than that particular trend). Look for it at Redbox.
Photos: Midnight Releasing