Stars: Tiffany Shepis, Brinke Stevens, Elissa Dowling, Arielle Brachfeld, Scot Pollard, Erin Marie Hogan, Jamie Bernadette, Nihilist Gelo, Dylan Hobbs, Chantelle Albers, Ray Trickitt, Joston Theney, Stephen Eith | Written and Directed by Joston Theney
With a cast that includes iconic scream queens Tiffany Shepis and Brinke Stevens, as well as up-and-coming scream queens Elissa Dowling, Arielle Brachfeld and Jamie Bernadette, how could I not review Axeman (aka Axeman at Cutters Creek)?
It seems, at least in the horror genre, that the 80s, and especially 80s slasher movies, are back. And as a fan of slasher movies I couldn’t be happier. Of course, like back in its heyday, the modern slasher has its good and its bad. In the grand scheme of slasher movies, Axeman sits somewhere in the middle – with enough decent kills to rise above the flotsam but with not enough of a meaty story to really count itself amongst the greats.
The film, also known as Axeman at Cutters Creek, sees nine vacationing twenty-somethings travel to a cabin in Cutter’s Creek for a hedonistic weekend. But their weekend of drinking and debauchery soon turns to horror when an axe-wielding local legend comes to life! Desperately clawing for any chance of survival, these once-estranged friends must band together to take on the bloody beast that’s kept these woods desolate and the townspeople terrified. This weekend will be one to be dismembered. Because this weekend, these friends will face the terror that is the Axeman!
If there’s one thing I took from Axeman it’s that I have no idea why the titular killer was actually murdering all these people – yes there was the usual “sitting round telling urban legends” scene that’s prevalent in these types of slashers, but I was still completely unsure whether the Axeman was the original Axeman or the cop that went crazy chasing him down. And beyond the fact he killed anyone who turned up at his “house” there was no other motivation whatsoever! But then should I have really been looking for a killers motivation in a slasher movie? Maybe it was because the film doesn’t feature the typical explain-it-all ending that is found in many of its genre brethren that I felt I needed to know more about the trucker-hat wearing killer…
Despite that Axeman - written and directed by Joston Theney, who, it so happens, also stars in the film as the token black guy, a stereotype he so gleefully plays upon in the film - feels like the work of a genre movie fan, someone who’s seen plenty of slashers and has his own idea of how people should be mutilated on camera. And to Theney’s credit some of the deaths in the film are pretty inventive, especially the very first kill of the foul-mouthed, sexy frustrated fat guy (a genre cliche that has been a staple of slasher movies since the early 80s). Not all the kills are a success however and there’s often a reliance on out of shot murder with some less-than-stellar CGI blood splatter. But hey, at least the CGI is kept to a minimum, often enhancing what I would think are hard-to-acheive (at least on this films low-budget) kills. Oh and kudos to Theney and co. for the tremendous death of Brinke Stevens, a real black comedy moment in an otherwise “straight” slasher movie!
Whilst it didn’t blow me away as much as some other modern slashers such as The Sleeper and Bloody Homecoming, if you’re a fan of the genre then I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of Axeman. The film is released on DVD in the US on May 6th courtesy of Midnight Releasing.