I have to state right up front that this film is one you will either love or hate, and I will wager many people will hate it. I will explain why later. For me, though, I liked it for the most part. I never get tired of seeing Debbie Rochon onscreen, even in low-budget indies like this one. And although the storyline is simplistic, it’s still a lot of fun (if you look past the flaws). Granted, there are many things about the film that could have been better…but everything about it overall works for me on a base level.
If you are not familiar with AXE TO GRIND, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Midnight Releasing:
Debbie, a vengeful past-her-prime horror actress, snaps when a hot new scream queen is cast to replace her in her comeback role. Debbie doesn’t handle rejection as well as she handles an axe, so she pays a visit to the film set to turn it into a crime scene!
I should probably also state this is one of those films that is so bad, it’s good. This statement alone will explain a lot about why I like it so much.
AXE TO GRIND looks like it was shot on home video cameras for the most part, and therefore does not have a lot of cinematic value. The lighting is decent for the most part, although there are a couple of darkened shots that could have been lit better. The sound, thankfully, is good, so we don’t have any problems hearing the dialogue.
The acting is about what you would expect from a B-movie. I love Debbie Rochon, so she always entertains me, regardless of her role. Another noteworthy performance is given by Michelle Tomlinson, who plays fellow scream-queen Cheryl. I first saw Tomlinson back in 2011, in a lesser-known film I reviewed for Hayes Hudson’s House of Horror titled BRAIN DEAD (click here to check out that review). She impressed me then, and continues to impress me now. The rest of the cast, however, is a take-them-or-leave-them group. Nobody really gives a horrible performance…yet, I don’t think anyone in the cast will win any awards for their acting anytime soon, either.
The special effects are ok, however I absolutely hate CG blood-splatters. The several we see in AXE TO GRIND are poorly done, and therefore come across as cartoonish. I understand CG is a cost-saving tool, however gore cannot be a secondary aspect in a horror film and should always be given its due.
Yet, even with all of its flaws, there’s something satisfactory about seeing Rochon dole out her vengeance on a group of clueless scream-queens who have slept with her husband. She even takes out the director and his cohorts (although I never quite caught on as to why…maybe her character is just that demented!). My sole (major) complaint about the film is that I didn’t understand the ending. I don’t really know what her big ‘performance’ was or even who the creepy caretaker was supposed to be.
I can’t honestly recommend AXE TO GRIND, unless you’re a big fan of B-movies or Debbie Rochon. And even then, you have to give this one a lot of leeway. If you can do that, however, you’ll be in for a minor treat.