Edge of the Axe (1988)
This will be my last review for a while. Not only is it the last movie, I'm burned out. It was fun fall and winter season.
“…Mike? . . . Mike, what’s the matter with you? Why are you looking at me like that? . . . Is it the next review? . . . I know it’s another rip-off. So what? It didn’t physically harm you. It is naturally inferior to your marvelous body of work. It’s not like I’m committing murder . . . Mike? . . . Mike! . . . Oh, Jason! Thank God you’re here! Get over here! Get Mike away from me! Whew! . . . Jason? . . . What’s the matter? . . . Why are you looking at me like that? . . . Jason? . . . Jason! . . . Oh, not you too! I know it’s a bit of a rip-off of your movies. So what if it is? You never cared before when I reviewed the other rip-offs. Why do you care now? . . . Oh, it’s not. Good . . . Was it the review of ‘Unmasked Part 25’? I know that one bothers you . . . It’s not? Then, why are you so pissed off? . . . Oh! Oh, that one! . . . Okay, I promise! . . . I promise to never review ‘The Burning’! I will never cover it! Ever! . . . And! . . . And I will lay off the rip-offs after this one! I promise! . . . So, are we okay? . . . Good . . . And, Mike? . . . Oh, thank God . . . Go ahead and get drinks from the fridge. I’ll be there in a little bit . . . Unbelievable…”
Oh, excuse me. I was just getting ready go over this review when Mike and Jason showed up. It looks like this will be the last “Halloween/Friday The 13th” rip-off I cover for a while. It is just as well. This one wasn’t bad, but it was a somewhat ordinary slasher film. It was a Spanish production, and it may have been filmed in Spain, but I am pretty sure it is supposed to be set in the United States. It has American actors speaking English. It set in a town called Paterson and Gerald is on his way there to see his friend, Richard. Both he and Richard are young adults in their twenties, so they’re able to act their age. Richard is married to a rich, older woman named Laura. He seems to care about her, and not just her money. However, she has become distant and he thinks she is seeing another man. In turn, he feels it is okay to flirt and eventually see another girl in town closer to his age. On one hand, they seriously need to talk. And on the other hand, he can’t have his cake and eat it too. Seriously, they need to talk.
Gerald ends up staying at Richard’s house. He has brought his computers. Paterson seems to be a simple town that has not yet caught up with the amazing technology of personal computers. Richard’s father thinks nothing of it. Gerald ends up meeting a girl named Lillian. Gerald lets her have his old computer and Laura finds herself able to communicate with him through a device. The two old-school computers definitely show the film’s age. Not that I minded. There was no Internet. You just click and type questions on a dark screen. You can even ask about the local mental institution. Yes, this does feature a subplot concerning one of those. There is also a male narrator as part of the program as the characters type. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think older computers came with this feature. In terms of the film’s audio, it certainly came off unnatural. If it was a gimmick to make it cool, it was not necessary and comes off tacky. We can read. The introduction of personal computers in this simple town brings up the theme regarding people’s dependency on technology. After a while, Lillian doesn’t feel she needs it. I can understand this sentiment. Sometimes, I yearn for simpler times before we became spoiled by technology. Now, we cannot escape it.
As it turns out, Gerald has arrived just in time for an exciting whodunit. There is a killer in town murdering women. He or she wears dark clothing and a white mask. Unlike Mike’s mask, it does not appear to have been molded after William Shatner and has no hair. Maybe he and Jason have a right to be pissed off after all. No hair on the mask, big whoop. Perhaps this killer should have worn a black ski mask like all the other second-rate killers. That way, it would have complimented the outfit and he/she could have avoided the lawsuit. This killer has one weapon of choice. He or she is killing off the women with an ax. They are not Tom Savini-quality death scenes, but some of the attacks are effective. The camera will focus on one suffering victim for several seconds after a hit and there is visibly bloody damage. Some of the other death scenes cut around the violence and cut away quickly. This hardly qualifies as the most gory slasher film, but it had more resources to back it up than some other low-budget slashers.
When it comes to the whodunit, there are a handful of characters that look like suspects at given points. I will not say who. What matters more than the killer’s identity and the gore is the level of suspense. It was a little bit suspenseful, but it was hardly enough to carry it above average. We see the killer go in for the kill from time to time, and there just isn’t a sense of style or urgency. It is all in the execution, and this film didn’t fully have it. In the meantime, there is a fair amount of focus on the characters, but that is not to say that they were engaging enough to care about. With Richard screwing around with two women, and a number of supporting characters with not much to do, all we are left with are Gerald and Lillian. They make a cute couple, but have only so much material to work with. Towards the end, I began to feel restless. And the one thing that redeems it is a surprise ending that I did not see coming. This is not a particularly remarkable slasher film or “Halloween/Friday The 13th” rip-off. There are better examples than this. It is barely above-average and on the lower end of the long list of rip-offs.
**1/2 out of 4
I must have missed this when your first posted it otherwise I'd have replied then. I've seen this film pop up quite a few places online over the last few years. This is a good thing of course when films like this get a mention. While not my favorite Larraz film, I find it to be a nice addition to anyone's slasher collection. Laraz mostly plays it straight, although to be fair this type of material really doesn't call for the kind of atmosphere he's known for. Still it's not without it's cool shots, the scene in the carwash in particular stands out. Plus Jack Taylor's in it and he's always great to see no matter how big the part. I've toyed with the idea of writing about the film myself but pretty much all's been said by those who can say it far better than I could.
The carwash scene does stand out. Should have mentioned that in the review. Compared to some other rip-offs I've seen more recently, this one is looking a little better.
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