DVD Review: Axed / Director: Ryan Lee Driscoll / Screenplay: Ryan Lee Driscoll / Starring: Jonathan Hansler, Andrea Gordon, Nicola Posener, Christopher Rithin / Release Date: July 30th
If there is a good thing about the current economic climate, it’s that people’s anger and frustration often leads to the creation of some great art. Axed was a film rife with possibilities, after all it concerns a buttoned down city worker going mental after he is laid off. Sadly though after the first twenty or so minutes in descends into amateur tedium.
The office drone in question is Kurt Wendell who has a bit of a breakdown in the car park when he leaves and then the next day wakes up as per normal and informs his family that they are all taking a day off. He drives his wife Steph, slutty daughter Megan and timid son Jay out to a cottage in the middle of nowhere so that they can spend the day as a family. What Kurt’s family don’t know is that Kurt has his boss tied up in the loft whom he suspects of having an affair with his wife and that Kurt doesn’t intend that any of them will leave alive.
We’ve seen worse but Axed is awful, almost nothing about it works. The list of faults is endless but let’s start with the script. Having a pretty good set up is one thing but the remaining one hour and a half does nothing with the premise, character development is at a zero. We learn that Kurt is a bit strict, his son he suspects is gay and his daughter is just a normal flaunty teenager coming into her sexuality. They both hate him and his wife is just miserable. At no point is there any kind of revelation about the family’s relationship or the simmering tensions that are clearly there.
Worse than the writing are the performances. Hansler as the father is one of the most over the top and misjudged performances we’ve seen in a while. Subtlety was probably called for but Hansler thinks he’s Alan Rickman playing a scenery-chewing villain and it’s ridiculous. Rithin and Gordon as the wife and daughter are equally awful, only being called upon to react with horror and getting even that wrong. Only Posener as the daughter strikes anything of a realistic note as a typical rebellious daughter.
Director Ryan Lee Driscoll shows no clue on how to properly frame a shot or shoot a set piece. Each time action is supposed to occur (mostly a murder) the actors all hold back seeming to be worried because there are no stunt doubles or insurance and the effect is hilarious not horrifying.
There may have been the germ of a good idea here at some point but this is just awful.