For the last five years, film-maker Anthony Leone has worked behind-the-scenes on a number of projects as well as a few of his own short films. 2020 is looking to be his biggest year yet as he gears up for the release of Hacksaw, his feature-length directorial debut inspired by some of the greatest names in cinema like Dennis Hooper, Rob Zombie and Sergio Leone. A collaboration between Gray Area Multimedia and Leone Films, Hacksaw finds a young couple on the road as they take a detour to the site of a notorious murder by the hands of a madman known as Ed Crowe. Crowe is a bizarre and bloodthirsty urban legend, which is why the couple stopped at this location with video camera in hand, but they’re about to find out that legends never die. Their bodies live on as long as their tales of horror do, and they’re about to become an unwilling part of the story. Written and directed by Anthony Leone, Hacksaw stars Amy Cay, Brian Butler, Michael Burgess, Cortney Palm (Zombeavers), Kylie Young, George Jac, Jayce Venditi, Christine Wawira and Sadie Katz (Wrong Turn 6) as DJ Cassidy.
Intended as an old-school throwback, this film starts with a gnarly opening and ends with an epic bloodbath. True to form, the majority of the middle fraction is used for character building, suspense development, and the general razzle-dazzle of story-telling. That means there is a lull in action and bloodshed, especially with the “Hart Show” segments, and Hacksaw is also on the shorter side – just crossing the hour mark with narrative content. Adding an extra death or two would have remedied both these problems; by adding something for the gorehounds to chomp on and increasing the run-time to a normal length. Hacksaw is produced by Anthony Leone and Luke Pensabene, with Leone also tackling the jobs of cinematographer and editor. Special effects were performed by Renee Rhoads, CJ Martinez and Luke Pensabene. Hacksaw jumps around in style a lot including narrative style to found footage style and black and white to color, but for an independent production, the overall quality is just about what I expected.
What really saves this title is the awesome special effects and scenes of torture. Hacksaw is gory as Hell, and a claustrophobic acid trip. There’s definitely a huge market for that, especially when aimed at horror fanatics who are infatuated with the flicks of the 80’s and 90’s. I can only imagine the hours of hard work that went into creating, administering and performing the special effects, so everyone involved with that gets a tremendous round of applause from me. Luckily, the bloodshed wasn’t wasted on screen because the actors turned in believable performances that helped to bring the effects to life. All things considered, Hacksaw is a decent horror film that only suffers from lack of cohesive style and lack of genre elements instead of dramatic filler. Hacksaw will be nearing its release date in the coming months, and I’d look for this sick flick at a film festival near you. It’s a romp in an abandoned building filled with torture porn and sizable talent.
Final Score: 6 out of 10.