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Edge of the Axe (1988)

I am a slasher fanatic and can enjoy pretty much anything this sub-genre can throw at me, given that it at least tries. It's essential that a slasher is creative with its killer, as well as their mysterious reveal (which hopefully provides enough substance to prevent the rest of the film falling apart) and it most definitely also has to be elaborate with the kills. With these on point, there is room for everything else around it to be terrible and still manage to keep me engaged and entertained for the most part. Edge of the Axe couldn't have gotten this more wrong if it tried. I'm going to start with the only positives, that being the killer and the practical effects. I found him/her to be rather exceptional. The look is simple, yet effective, with a plain white face mask conveying very little emotion, not too dissimilar to Carpenters creation of the Micheal Myers mask. I also liked how it established early on that this is someone well know to the community, this is shown to us when Rita responds to him/her before they puts on the mask after her pursuit. The killer obviously uses an axe, but the issue with having only one weapon is the need to be creative with the kill sequences in order to not be repetitive. That unfortunately is not the case here. Every death is the same and becomes rather tiresome, rather quickly. The practical effects did have a low budget charm about them that I'm a huge fan of, but as I said they are unfortunately lacking in variation. The acting across the board is generally pretty abysmal and strangely hammed up. I'm not sure if this was a directional cue or just reflective of how poor the quality of this cast is. Christina Marie Lane, who plays Lillian, is by far the biggest culprit of this. It's not difficult to see why she didn’t have much of a career in acting after this role. Not only is the acting bad, but the writing of these characters is just as terrible. I honestly had no interest in anyone in this film, barring the killer. There appears to be no central focus on any set character as our lead, just a set of people that are very loosely connected and the majority of them end up having no plot resolution by the time we reach the closing act. Everything except the attack themselves is so soap opera in tone and style, making it genuinely uninteresting to watch. Every scene comes across confusing and converluded, with intertwining character subplots that have no real significance on the general direction of the film. The score is just as unique to say the least, in the sense that it feels like the kind of music you would hear on a commercial for a holiday retreat, feeling very out of place and extremely corny. This is a tone used more noticeable in the lighter moments, the more 'impactful' moments were even more outrageous, having a strong use of a heavy drum beat any time a body is discovered or the killer appears. I cared very little for the plot of this film and I had no interest in who the killer was and why he/she was doing these things. The ultimate reveal fell flatter than most of the film itself and just caused everything else to fall apart around it. This is a very disappointing late 80's slasher that has very little personality and enjoyment. Slasher films should not be this much of an effort to get through, if Edge of the Axe is sat on your watch list, I'd strongly recommend you remove it.



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