A giallo-inspired slasher from the sub genre’s Golden Age, “Edge of the Axe” is a but muddled, but stylish and satisfying enough to be utterly watchable.
The slasher genre can trace its lineage directly to Italy and the giallo subgenre of mystery thrillers. This week’s recommendation is a Spanish-American take on the genre, released during the height of slasher popularity.
Being honest, the cover art of 1988’s Edge of the Axe is what initially caught my attention. And when the film opened with a killer in a plain white mask dismembering a woman in a car wash, I was hooked. However, as the meandering and confusing story evolved, I began to feel like the bait was better than the bite.
The film follows the happenings in a small town rocked by grisly murders; typical slasher/giallo type of stuff. But this film also introduces a pig farm, a relationship between a young man and a much older woman, a computer whiz, and a small town where everyone seems to work for the local psychiatric clinic.
Like all giallo films, the creative team of the film tries to give the viewer tons of clues as to who the killer may be and their motivations. But like many giallos, most of the suspenseful build up is overshadowed by the batshit crazy.
The two main characters are Gerald (Barton Faulks) and Lillian (Christina Marie Lane), a couple of young adults obsessed with technology.
Gerald lives with a hermit out in the woods who complains about the electric bill that is high due to all his computers. Lillian is home from college and has been using computers to try to find her long lost, mentally deranged, psychotic brother, Charlie. When bodies start dropping left and right in the small town, the pair start searching for the identity of the mysterious killer with all the power of 1988 technology.
Gerald searches for clues, cross referencing data about each of the victims across their known associates, while developing a possible motive based on this information. He attempts to deduce the true identity of the killer, while Lillian is just looking for Charlie. She’s convinced he must be the killer, even though the computer does not seem to agree.
When the film finally reveals the killer and the motivations, you will be scratching your head in bewilderment.
While the clues are plentiful, if you weren’t keeping detailed notes throughout, the finale might seem a bit confusing. Never fear, however, as the computer prints out a detailed synopsis of what exactly just happened.
Overall, this is a solid film with some great kills and an awesome looking killer. It’s the perfect “Who done it” type film to kick off the 2021 season of Tubi Tuesday.
Check it out now, streaming for free on Tubi.