Axeman (2014) – By Kirsten Walsh

“Tiffany Shepis, Brinke Stevens, Elissa Dowling and Jamie Bernadette join former NBA star Scot Pollard in Joston Theney’s blood-stained love letter to classic slasher movies like Friday the 13th (1980) and A Nightmare on Elm Street(1984). An axe-wielding local legend slices and dices his way through some vacationing twenty-something in a blood-curdling movie experience that’s been named "THE movie to see in 2014!" With a sequel now in production, all signs point towards the Axeman joining the legendary likes of other horror faves like Freddy, Jason, Michael and Chucky!”

A witty, humorous film that definitely harkens back to the golden era of the slasher, but has a nice modern air that keeps it fresh and unique. The effects are somewhat cheesy (a mix of practical and digital), the storyline is somewhat cliché (teens in a cabin and get picked off one by one), and the music is in a traditional horror styling, but what sets this film apart is the acting. With a large cast (feature everyone from Tiffany Shepis to Elissa Dowling and a former NBA player), the acting doesn’t fall short of what the film needs.

Coming in at just under two hours, the film has a few parts that could have been trimmed down. The inner turmoil amongst the youths seems to play over the horrific part of the film at points. Of course, the turmoil plays into the separation of the characters and allows them to get picked off without the others noticing, but at times, it seems more poignant than the story of the killer. It isn’t until an hour into the film that the survivors realize that anything strange is going on. What I do like about the characters is that they are not your stereotypical group of teens out in the woods. There’s no buxom cheerleader, there’s no outright jock- these characters come across as real people with real (slightly exaggerated) issues.

Fitting into the slasher genre, the Axeman is a quiet, strong, larger than everyone else in the movie killer. Played by Scot Pollard, he is reminiscent of Jason with his overbearing size and of Victor Crowley with his “no need to wear a mask”. But there is not enough of him in the movie! The character set up is fun, but with the kills peppered out over every twenty minutes or so, you WANT him to come in and end some of these youths’ misery, which he really doesn’t do in mass effect until the end of the film. Plus, with the title of the film being “Axeman”, you would think he would be the one to get a majority of screen time. Talking about him is one thing, but showing cool kills in his slasher film is another.

Grosset part of the movie: A couple, a pair who were single when we first met them who got together (“You’re my dream girl”- cheesiest line in the movie), chugging a bottle of liquor under the stars. The guy goes in for the big kiss, and then…just when things are getting juicy, the girl throws up. In his mouth. Really? Not a cool kill, but adds to the gross out factor nonetheless.

Now, the kills. The kills don’t really outdo themselves, but they are efficient, and unlike many horror movies that name their killer after a weapon, the Axeman actually does use an axe on a handful of the kills. But the effects become cheesy with the use of digital blood. Being a fan of practical effects, when someone is stabbed through the neck, it takes the audience out of the movie when the blood is obviously digital. Sure, it gets the point across, but for me, it just didn’t work.

“Axeman” already has a sequel in the works, which is awesome, as the majority of the film kicks ass, but I really hope the filmmakers consider going all practical for the effects!

Would I watch it again? Yeah, probably, but I would probably play a drinking game with it, anytime an actor makes a sappy face or makes a sappy comment- DRINK!

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