While there’s plenty of blood and sex to keep Axeman afloat in the recent wave of ’80s slasher homages, the story and characters are seriously lacking any kind of substance. A lot of time is spent with the group of 20-somethings as they drink and screw, so you’d think there would be some room for character definition. But none of them have any actual depth to make all this screen time interesting. There’s two bros, a black guy (played by Theney), a perverted fat slob, two lesbians, and two former besties squabbling over an ex. The characterizations do not run much deeper than that. By about the third time the bros beat their chests at each other, I was ready to throw in the towel, then thankfully the Axeman shows up.
The titular killer doesn’t use an axe as much as the moniker suggests. This hulking bastard utilizes a bevy of instruments to wreak havoc: machete, butcher knife, pickaxe, and his bare hands, which are enormous and could probably choke out a donkey. It’s no camera trick when the killer is shown towering over the cast – he’s played by 6’11” former NBA baller Scott Pollard, who was part of the 2007-8 championship Celtics team. He’s also the guy who one time looked into a camera during a timeout and said “Hey kids, do drugs,” so you know he’s a natural thespian.
Pollard may have an interesting screen presence, but there is absolutely nothing backing up the “legend” of the Axeman. There’s a brief mention of an urban legend (that’s almost obligatory in a woods slasher) and that’s it. He simply arrives and starts killing everyone. His motivations are left completely in the dark. Seeing obnoxious kids getting murdered on screen is a good time, sure, but giving the killer an interesting reason OR ANY REASON AT ALL makes it so much more compelling. I’m a sucker for urban legends and was disappointed over Axeman‘s utter lack of one. And while a few of the kills may be clever, their shock value is blown by some trashy looking CGI blood splatters.
Most of the film is played like a straight slasher, though there are some moments of humor that break up the monotony. Prolific scream queen Brinke Stevens (The Slumber Party Massacre) plays a foul-mouthed sheriff who comes sniffing around the cabin and her scenes are pretty damn fun, albeit brief. The rest of the humor falls, particularly the relentless references to penises and vaginas. The worst offender may be: “I know you want to stick your Twinkie in my Suzie Q.” There’s a lot of painful lines like that throughout Axeman.
If you have an insatiable appetite for slashers and must consume every offering the genre has to offer, then I guess Axeman will be up your alley. Otherwise, it’s just a drop in an already deep bucket.
Axeman is now available on DVD, Redbox, and VOD outlets.
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