[BD Review] ‘Axeman’ Is a Shallow, Frustrating Slasher

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Axeman (aka Axeman at Cutter’s Creek) follows a group of 20-somethings as they reconnect at a remote cabin for some post-college partying. Within the first couple minutes of their introduction, it’s baffling why these folks would want to hang out with each other. They’re a toxic mix of individuals who don’t seem to get along at all. Regardless, they settle in for some boozing and screwing only to encounter the Axeman, who kills them for some unexplained reason. These are just a few of the frustrations presented by writer-director Joston Theney’s new film.

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.

 

Official Score

  • shawn666

    You are way to nice to this film. Pathetic piece of trash. Scott Pollard was NOT brooding nor scary. I’ve seen better film on teeth.

  • parsyeb

    Question: aside from characterization and backstory, how is the movie? It’s a fucking slasher film, after all, so if there’s some gory effects, it’ll prob serve its purpose.

    • Patrick Cooper

      There’s some okay gore, but they overuse CGI blood splatter that looks really silly.

      • parsyeb

        CG blood’s the worst thing that’s happened to action/gore movies. Esp. when you know doing it the proper way is fairly inexpensive.

    • Big Sur

      I’d say see it. One person’s opinion is just that.

  • Big Sur

    Maybe I rented the wrong Axeman. I rented the one that came out on May 6, 2014 and it kicked ass! Great little homage to old school slashers. Funny dialogue, cool character and a 7ft f’n villain – and not a camera trick, this dude is massive and intimidating. Good way to pass an hour and a half. Just my two cents.

  • diapers

    I haven’t seen it, but it sounds like my favorite shitty slasher of all time, Final Exam. Partying coeds, and a killer with zero backstory. I will seek this out!