Here is a film with a story that could have led to something current, funny and dark. Setting it in the milieu of the global recession, the film opens with legends blasted across the screen proclaiming that “the world is in the grip of a major financial meltdown; major companies are being forced to make severe cuts”. However, this theme is never touched on again.
Kurt Wendell, unloving husband and uncaring father, loses his job. We never see Kurt before this, just his melodramatic breakdown after he has been fired, and thus the character abandons any hope of being established. An apparently routine man, he breaks this habit after finding himself without a job and packs his family into the car in order to head off to their holiday home in the middle of (surprise! surprise) nowhere.
The film is unsure whether it is trying to be a suspense thriller or a gritty horror, but it fails in both categories. The only suspense is the constant hope that the film will end – given its short running time, this should be no mean feat and yet it manages to drag on. The only horrific thing in the film is the acting, with the actors hamming it up and unsuccessfully attempting a Blair-Witch-inspired handheld camera run through the woods. In addition to the fact that this is employed for only a few random shots at the end, it is also utterly pointless and just contributes to the film’s vapid and cartoonish feel.
There are a few silly attempts at double entendres with Kurt’s weapon of choice being an axe, alluding to the film’s title and trying to draw an amusing parallel between staff cuts and literal, physical cuts. This, however, barely comes across and even if anyone notices it they will just roll their eyes at the lame attempt at humour. The maniacal Kurt is sufficiently disturbing, but after a while he just becomes annoying.
If it set out to be an entertaining horror it should never have introduced such a torrid theme as the global recession. However, it doesn’t even function as entertainment – just a lot of aimless yelling, chasing and hacking.