AXEMAS *** USA 2017 Dir: John Ward. 25 mins
Writer-director John Ward here offers another addition to the Santa suit slasher sub-genre while aping the lo-fi look and feel of its early 1980’s inspiration. This means a cheap electronic score, double impalings, ropey sound quality and frequent kills accompanied by bad one-liners. Three couples enjoying an all-night party at a storage unit are picked off by John E Seymore’s axe-wielding killer, who sings Christmas songs with a drink in one hand and a severed limb in the other. Hotfooting it down corridors at high speed and relishing a Santa sack full of amusing festive wisecracks (“Welcome to the North Pole!”), Seymore’s whispering, smirking killer is the highlight of this well paced indie slasher, with decent make-up effects and occasional flourishes including a split screen sequence.
It could have done without the self-conscious references to other films (notably, THE SHINING), and none of the victims have much in the way of personality, but it’s fun and those that stay the course are rewarded with Seymore growling his way through an acapella version of “Silent Night” over the credits. Ward has already completed AXEMAS 2: BLOOD SLAY. Can we put an early request for AXEMAS 3 to be subtitled AULD LANG SCYTHE?
Review by Steven West