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I do watch an awful lot of horror movies, and – being perfectly honest – modern-day attempts at traditional slasher gore inspire me the least. Why? Well, the biggest reason is that most filmmakers don’t bring anything new to the game. Instead of amping up the carnage or delivering some great pop and sizzle with the body count they’re far more interested in turning out something that’s practically a shot-for-shot retread of so many things that have already been done before. It isn’t that I can’t appreciate your average killfest ‘cause I do. It’s just that I wish folks would actually reinvigorate a genre with new blood instead of revisiting all of the dried up tropes of yesteryear.

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)

From the product packaging: “In this 80s style slasher with a new school twist, nine vacationing twenty-somethings travel to a posh timeshare cabin in Cutter’s Creek for a hedonistic weekend. But their weekend of boozing and sex turns to horror when an axe-wielding local legend comes to life!”

Meh. Perhaps I’ve watched too much horror to appreciate a true homage the way other viewers can as I found so very much of AXEMAN to embrace far too much of the pretentiousness of its principal characters. And – for that matter – the Axeman himself is barely in this, showing up in far too few sequences, especially considering the runtime (way too long, by the way) clocks in at a lethargy-inducing 103 minutes. I’m all for carnage; I just hate spacing it out so much. There’s far too much time spent on folks you know aren’t going to survive the picture anyway; getting to know them better only makes you wish the Axeman wasn’t in so small supply or maybe brought along his friend – ‘The Stabber’ – who could’ve kept busy, too.

What works well in pictures of this nature is that the victims fit a certain profile. Sure, every one of them is more self-absorbed than the next, and – in that respect – the script turns a single into a double. There are former jocks. There are wannabe success stories. There are frisky lesbians. There’s the young couple just trying to find one another again. There’s the interracial pair. If only one of them knew how to act, then maybe AXEMAN wouldn’t have seemed so cut on the lines.

One of the chief reasons to sit and enjoy even the most formulaic slasher picture is because of the visceral thrill that goes hand-in-hand with watching the usual suspects get effectively hacked to pieces one after another. Viewers can revel in the fact that the axe-wielding maniac is secretly doing mankind a service, offing this bunch of self-obsessed twentysomethings and saving us from having to make small talk with them at the corner Starbucks. Is there any greater sublime release than watching the quarterback finally go down on something other than a cheerleader? Is there any greater satisfaction than watching that plastic Penny with the perfect hair, perfect boobs, and perfect butt bleeding out on the floor of some backwoods cabin? In fact, right now I can’t think of any better reason to watch ANY slasher flick!

Sadly, AXEMAN shows up in shockingly short supply in a film bearing his name. To worsen matters, when he does, he uses the axe but the blood and gore are left off-screen! Can you believe that? Writer/director Joston Theney doesn’t even give the audience the satisfaction of witnessing the grand comeuppance of these stock characters he created; instead, he throws in some squirts and spurts of catsup and expects us to forgive him for it. Well, I won’t.

AXEMAN (aka AXEMAN AT CUTTER’S CREEK) (2013) is produced by Blood Red Films. DVD distribution is being handled by Midnight Releasing. As for the technical specifications? Meh. I don’t want to make too much of it, so I’ll just say that there’s some good and some bad audio work, but the video work and cinematography is surprisingly uninspired, even for a slasher picture. Lastly, if it’s special features you want, then prepare for the disappointment: there aren’t any.

(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED. Bland, bland, and more bland. Because I do tend to appreciate horror and gore more than the next online critic, I can forgive some script holes or logic burps (there are more than I care to recount here); but what I can’t tolerate is being bored for 103 minutes. Yes, writer/director Theney had a recipe he was clearly following, but his mix lacks the depth, consistency, and flavor that a more learned perspective may’ve brought to this material. It isn’t a complete waste, but it’s pretty close. On the plus side? Well, the frisky lesbians do neck a lot.

In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Midnight Releasing provided me with a DVD copy of AXEMAN by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.
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on July 23, 2014
This movie is awful. Trying too hard to be campy, claiming the slasher genre but really failing in almost all aspects. The cinematographer is awful, the gore looks terribly fake, and all the "bros" acting is cringeworthy. Some of the women in it are good, especially the lesbian couple, and I'm not just saying that because they're hot lesbians. I wonder if anyone actually bothered directing this film or if they just kinda winged it.

Scot Pollard as the Axeman is hilarious, but not really in the right way.
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on October 30, 2014
Some guy with an axe chases teens arounds and manages to kill some of them. Shot on a $1.98 budget. Yawn. Been there, done that. This is the kind of crap you get out of RedBox rental machines.
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on May 9, 2015
The premise is a classic set up that made 80’s horror completely watchable as visceral horror. There is a slight late 90’s “too cool for this” micro-vibe that kicks off the story and echo’s through some of the characters which is a nice, refreshing component. The cast are all pretty straight acting, recognizable indie horror actors who give convincible performances, some a bit more than others, but all give decent, recognizable performances that bring the characters to life. The film does carry a lot of dialog that adds way more dramatic interactions that I, personally, like to see in my visceral slaughterfests.

“Axeman” uses some cool, somewhat expected, special effects-sometimes working wonderfully, a few times it fails, but often the kills, and gore are totally dope. I have to give a “tisk tisk” to CGI blood effects in a few scenes and mention a red flag to one kill set up, (I can’t be specific without spoiling it for others but most will notice it in the film), CGI splatter is a nail in my spine that is more common and very cost effective but lacks the excitement and personality that practical fluid provides. That being said the majority of the kills, blood and gore are very much practical and taken serious.

Overall “Axeman” is a fine modern horror, offering both classic feel and current elements, to a set-up that works. The film gives us a new, slasher of gigantic stature, emphatic stoicism, and brutality. The kills are a mix of classic, and creative, “slice-n-dice” moments demanded in slasher horror. I felt very emotional over one specific death/ character recognition scene in the film, (without spoiling it: one scene had some amazing emotional connectivity that overflowed beyond the screen as a character died and another watched in horror), very compelling and intense. Really “Axeman” minus the few flaws gives us a cool, modern horror film.
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on July 15, 2014
This is a newer release from Brain Damage, don't be fooled by this "Midnight Releasing" thing, its Brain Damage. Which unfortunately means I went in thinking it was going to be bad. Not so bad after all. But not SO good. Its pretty run of the mill 80s slasher stuff.

GORE: It holds up as a slasher. Some kills are better than others, some are lacking, but this is pretty par for the course with indies.

NUDITY/SEX: A ton of lesbian kissing. Nuff said.

STORY: Pretty typical of your average slasher. If I say "80s slasher film homage" you know exactly what to expect. This script hits all the notes you want it to, like it or not.

TECH: Well shot for an indie, nicely cut. Keeps its story going and doesn't break any rules.

DVD: Nothing special here unfortunately. A cute blooper reel is self congratulatory and needless. Midnight Releasing never gives me good special features though, so I know what to expect.

OVERALL: Again: 80s slasher homage. That's all I got. If that's what you want, that's what you get. Better than most and if you've watched Friday the 13th a million times, this comes a nice refreshing take.
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on March 25, 2015
Good cheesy movie with HOT girls and slasher horror
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