Awfully Good: Ax 'Em

Jordan Peele's GET OUT is an excellent horror movie with a clever commentary on modern racial tensions. If you're looking for the exact opposite of that, this is the movie for you...

Ax 'Em (1992)

Director: Michael Mfume
Stars: Michael Mfume, Sandra Pulley, Joe Clair

A group of African American college students go to a cabin in the woods and are murdered by horrific stereotypes. There may also be a man with an axe.

People often ask me "What's the worst movie you've ever seen?" Most of the time I'll rattle off some enjoyably bad classics like THE ROOM, TROLL 2 or TORQUE. But deep down I know that the real answer is AX ' EM.

AX 'EM is the worst movie I've ever seen.

You know a movie is bad when the titles were made using Microsoft clip art.

When we ponder "How did this get made?" in regards to a film, it's usually on a conceptual level. With AX 'EM it's "How did this physically get made?" Meaning, I can't believe a group of people so clearly incompetent were able to actually produce a finish product and release it. No exaggeration: You could go in your backyard with whatever people and materials you have in front of you right now and shoot a better movie. I don't even know you or your particular skill set, but I am still confident you could in fact make a more polished, worthwhile film than director Michael Mfume.

And the award for Best Cinematography goes to…

With VHS camcorder picture quality and a ratio that switches from full to widescreen without warning, AX 'EM is a veritable feast for the eyes. You'll enjoy visuals too blurry and out of focus to comprehend, or nighttime cinematography so poorly lit your TV will look like a completely black screen. The sound isn't much better, as the filmmakers clearly didn't know how to properly position a microphone to record sound. So dialogue is either painfully loud or too soft to hear. Not that it really matters though, since I doubt there was even a script for this movie. The majority of the dialogue is just people talking or screaming over each other. And what little was written ahead of time is pure gibberish. Just look at the grammatical and spelling errors in this opening title card:

This is 100% real.

With absolutely no story, direction or point, AX 'EM is nearly unbearable for the first half, where characters we don’t know/care about wander aimlessly, doing and saying things that will never come up again later on. (There's also a stepping competition and a five-minute “Yo Mama!” joke battle, presumably just to waste time.) Once everyone gets to the requisite cabin in the woods, things pick up. However, at this point AX 'EM ceases to be an actual film and instead turns in to a nonstop onslaught of painful black stereotypes that would be more at home in a Key and Peele sketch parodying how black people would act in a horror film.

"Your motivation in this scene is anguish and pain from the machete in your head. …Or happiness and joy. That works too."

Everything devolves in to random, poorly executed jump scares as people yell, "Oh shit!," Aw, hell no!" or the occasional " I ain't tryna be killed out here right now, girl! Damn!" There are a few memorably bizarre moments, such as the character who breaks the fourth wall by lunging directly at the camera while screaming and smiling, or the guy who gets so startled by the killer that his eye glasses shake like a cartoon character. As for the villain, he gets no real motivation or explanation except for that opening title card. And contrary to the film's name, he uses a knife, a machete, a hatchet and at one point, when a guy manages to escape his clutches, the killer pulls out a gun and shoots him dead. So if you were expecting a lot of axes in AX 'EM, I'm sorry.

And the award for Best Makeup goes to...

There's honestly no reason AX ‘EM should ever have gotten any kind of release other than in the director's basement. Producer/writer/director/star Michael Mfume is the son of former NAACP President and Congressman Kweisi Mfume, so I'm sure his high-ranking connections didn't hurt. (In fact, he even brags about it in a Thank You section in the end credits that lists every one from sitting judges to God himself.) But perhaps most telling is the fact that at the very end of the film is a title card that just says "Peace." Is this whole movie an elaborate ploy to bring together people from all walks of life and unite them in one common ideology? Because I think we can all agree as a unified humanity that AX 'EM is probably the worst movie of all time.

Some funny reactions, terrible pick up lines ("You're so fine, I could kiss your daddy's ass!") and Exposition Man.

This collection of indescribable moments from this film should give you an idea of just how terrible it is.

Strictly PG-13.

Hate yourself? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • Somebody asks to use the phone
  • White people and black people are compared
  • Somebody says, "Why I oughta…"
  • A white girl falls down
  • Someone looks directly in to the camera
  • A scene fades out unexpectedly
Double shot if:
  • Someone actually says, "I've fallen down and I can't get up." .

Thanks to Abishek and Graham for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Extra Tidbit: Since AX 'EM, Michael Mfume has also worked as a third unit director on SCARFACE: ORIGINS OF A HIP HOP CLASSIC.
Source: JoBlo.com



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