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Review: Jeremy Sumrall’s “Pickaxe” (More Like Skip-Axe)

Alright, I’m going to be blunt about this one. It takes a lot more than impressive special effects and a gratuitous amount of nudity and sex to make a decent slasher flick. The essence of the subgenre thrives on much more than those elements, and that’s why Wild Eye Releasing’s latest picture, Pickaxe, misses the mark big-time. Written and directed by Jeremy Sumrall, Pickaxe finds the survivors of a previous mass-slaying banding together once again to survive the killer’s might when an occult ritual resurrects him from the grave. Produced by Sumrall, Debra Dutjahr and Dominic Orozco, Pickaxe stars Tiffany Shepis, A. Michael Baldwin, Sal Governale, Shawn Hernandez, Jayson Champion, Perry Batson, Ashley-Marie Zgabay, Elizabeth Redpath and Ben Warner. Pickaxe is currently available on VOD courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing, and here’s why I think that’s just about where it should stay, if even purchased at all.

Tiffany Shepis (Scarecrow, Sharknado 2, Victor Crowley) and A. Michael Baldwin (Phantasm series) are well known in the horror genre. The film feels like a 80’s/90’s throwback and even pays homage to a few flicks from The Golden Age of Horror. With cinematography and editing by John Gordon Hale, Pickaxe has great camera quality, impressive lighting, perfect locations and realistic special effects. Honestly, it was poised to be something really great, but the script failed this movie before it even had the chance to stretch its legs and run. The characters are increasingly obnoxious, which also tarnishes the performances by the actors because they didn’t need to exude any sort of effort to play them. And more time was put into featuring nudity and sex scenes than fleshing out the story and making it anything other than generic.

Pickaxe appears to be a series created by Jeremy Sumrall, and this entry in the saga was originally released in 2014. I think it should have stayed dead and buried there half a decade ago. I can’t, in good conscious, recommend this flick to any slasher fans. I don’t think it’s worth the price of purchase, especially when there’s so many other pictures and directors that tried to be great and not skid by on skin. The killer is retro and intimidating and brutal. The small-town allure is alive and well, and this production was clearly filled with a ton of professionals behind-the-scenes. God, I just wish someone shook Sumrall and said “What are you doing?!” The script absolutely murdered this film’s potential and not even classic slasher troupes and the charm of Tiffany Shepis can save it. What a waste of talent! So, yeah, you can watch the film’s trailer below and consider buying it on VOD if you want, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)