Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro
Directed by Nicholas Woods
Once in a while, a film comes along and acts as your own personal brain-surgeon, effectively lacing into your skull and giving your gray matter that delicate finger-swirl that can mix up emotions and thoughts faster than any set of implements could offer, and that’s where Nicholas Woods’ The Axiom comes into play.
The film follows a young woman named McKenzie (Smith), who is on an all-out search for her missing sister Marylyn (Maria Granberg) who went missing during a hike deep in the woods, and in the hopes of having success in numbers she enlists the assistance of their brother (Titus) and good friend Gerrik. Together they set out into the great, wide wooded nowhere in the hopes of bringing Marylyn home safe and sound, and as fate would have it, the group stops to gain a measure of “information” about the woods in question from a mysterious man named Leon. Far be it from me to poo-poo on the tactical dimensions brought about by any potential search faction in a horror or sci-fi film, but WHY in the blue hell does each and every damned film have to have that one nutcase that comes off like a bonafide kook warning said person from continuing their hunt? Nuggets of certifiable data are strewn at McKenzie’s feet, and all cautions are cast aside as she and her band of pseudo-sleuths march their way into certain danger. The only difference here is that McKenzie has chosen to keep Leon’s warnings to herself, figuring her pseudo-sleuths might not want to believe (or follow) this rescue mission to completion if they truly knew what faced them.
As horror movie history would dictate, it doesn’t take long for the groups’ residence in the forest to become compromised by something that clearly is not happy with their presence, and it manifests itself into some rather disturbing imagery. The two things that work for The Axiom were the choice of casting and the ambiance itself – firstly, the cast outperformed themselves to much more of an extent that I’d initially hoped, with believable expressions and fluid movement in their dialogue – it’s the overall look and feel of a convincing character that will outshine a sluggish plot. Secondly, the aura of the “haunted” woods gives off that closed-off and frenzied tempo at times, especially when the creatures come out to play (Harry Potter fans might pick these off in a heartbeat), but it has all the visuals of a frightening border that traps our cast and refuses to let them go, and we’re all sitting like frogs on a log waiting for the chills to roll in abundantly.
At the end of it all, The Axiom won’t set any records for shrieks initiated or covers pulled over frightened eyes, but it is a nice compliment to a dark and stormy night when reruns of “Murder, She Wrote” just won’t hit the sweet spot…not that I’ve watched it, but Angela Lansbury always seemed like a bad-ass Granny that could outsmart any ol’ criminal – alright, enough of my ranting – check this one out when it creeps in like a dense fog to your living room!