The reasoning for this new column DOA, simply stating the movies that truly rank badly, as a Horror Historian and a genre completest, who truly enjoys the macabre this becomes a challenge, as anyone can rip a movie, but doing with a reasoning of what, why, how do these movies make it to this list a marvel in itself. Therefore the first film, Ax ‘Em, from 1992 marking its 25th anniversary appears a fine place to start, after all with a rating of 1.2 on IMDb, how can it not lead off the wretched pack of movies.
Hence, director and writer Michael Mfume, who since this horrendous production, went onward to direct two music short documentaries first Scarface: Origins of a Hip Hop Classic and then Death of a Nation, but this flick his only feature and the first grave-marker in cemetery of DOA. Originally titled The Weekend It Lives, which actually has more intrigue, that the way cool title present for the movie, as pitiful request addition to the slasher genre, which many believe likely the easiest production to create, well this movie shows all the missteps. Mfume’s movie did succeed in an extremely limited theatrical run, shown in Baltimore, Maryland in 1992, became MIA for 10 years, before York Entertainment snatched it up and retitling it as ‘Ax ‘Em’ with a slick DVD cover. Clearly the movie’s cheapness pours through at the frame, but a budget of only $650 what more could 2 Smooth Film Productions, perhaps a few more rewrites, no, the problems excel pass the script.
The flick starts with classic white text set against a black screen, however don’t try to read it, a little confusing and need to become a speed reader for it or a finger on the pause button. The jest a disturbed father did a murder suicide crime, but his mentally ill son never located, and the legend is that son returns 13-years later to avenge the crime, wait how do avenge the crime your now dead father committed. Oh well, move along, as the movie focuses on a group of African American college students who vacate the safety of their city lives and head into the woods for getaway which does sound a bit cliché. However, before that the opening scene involves a combination of hip hop dance moves along with classic break-dancing, and over-sized boom-boxes, with this taking a major portion, but truly serving no connection to the rest of the film.
Now, trying to understand the movie, works hard against logic, and the ability to stay focused on a movie filled with glaring errors, most cinema fans have seen a western with tire tracks in the ground, others which has the shadows of the crew in the film, but those pale in comparison to this mess. For example a scene where a couple in a hallway talking and a lot of background characters in their own conversations, the tone remains the same for everyone, the noise constant, hence impossible to single the central characters, and early losing their names, (most of the actors only did this film and nothing else). The characters entertain themselves, without much direction, by telling jokes over each over, louder and louder without any care, and leaving the audience to wonder why am I sitting here watching this – a good question, sorry no answer. Let’s shift over the story again, the killer, trudges around after his victims, and uses the ax very little to kill, since the victims have a tendency to fall down a lot, perhaps because no lighting exists, very dark nighttime sequences. The kills leave much lacking in both the angles and the special effects, and dialogue becomes muddle the statements and answer not lining up correctly to have cohesive understanding. At some point one hopes, to turn the corner into a campy tale, but with all the POV shots, and scenes without any sounds it makes one long for the dance sequence at the beginning of the film.
The movie works on one’s integrity to watch an entire horror film, in one sitting and without pausing, walking away or just drinking heavily, at some point in this very short film (thankful for that) an IRS audit seems fun. Mfume missed the point on many marks, most filmmakers and even hobbyists play around with their cameras, learning the features, framing, the types of mics, watching other movies; it appears none of this occurred, with this movie as the result. The presentations of the film, consists of horrendous qualities, and the sound comes across as muddled, one wonders if the recording was in the right position, the volume on the television, became the fun part, pushing the button up and down, as you hear grunts from the ‘killer’.
Ax ‘Em, needs for everyone to forget the movie, I took the time and exposing my eyes to this atrocious mess, an insult to makers of the industry of cinema. In fact on IMDb on a recent search the worst rank movie ties between Code Name K.O.Z (2015) and Saving Christmas (2014) at 1.5 and just overlooks this film too, even now 25-years later. The movie’s plot and characters leave one confused and beyond puzzled for an excuse of this creation. The items pointed out in this review briefly note how wretched the movie actual is, as for what and why it happened, perhaps to achieve the worst ranking ever, if that’s the case then the film won hands down.
IMDb rating: 1.2/10
DOA Rating: 1/10