Axe (1974) ***
D: Frederick R. Friedel
C: Leslie Lee, Jack Cannon, Ray Green, Frederick R. Friedel
Plot Synopsis: Three criminals on the run hold up at an isolated farmhouse occupied by a young girl and her paralyzed grandfather. However, what these criminals don't expect is that this young girl has psychotic tendencies.
Review: Axe often gets labeled as a variation on I Spit on Your Grave, because the main character is a female who engages in shocking scenes of violence against male perpetrators. The difference is that I Spit on Your Grave is about misogyny, rape and revenge. Axe, on the other hand, isn't about the act of violence, but how a character comes into their own because of violence.
In the film, we are introduced to the character of Lisa (Lee). She walks around a rural farmhouse nearly catatonic, except in one scene where she contemplates whether or not to slit her wrists. Part of her daily routine is cooking & cleaning. In one scene, she cuts off a chicken's head with no remorse. After all, it's dinner. In another scene, she feeds her disabled grandfather raw chicken eggs. Her parents are nowhere to be found. How this young girl came to be and the circumstances surrounding her predicament are never explained. That makes her character all the more intriguing.
When the character of Lisa is forced to defend herself, it isn't about getting revenge. It isn't about the film getting to indulge in violence. It's about a young girl who has a predisposition for violence. Now, due to her circumstances, she can justifiably act on her violent urges. In a way, this is an offbeat character study about a young girl coming of age.
In a refreshing change of pace, Axe doesn't asks us to sympathize with Lisa, to find humanity in this character, to take pity or to even identify with her. It simply wants to give us a glimpse into Lisa's world. This approach is exactly what makes Axe such a unique, one of a kind film experience; something that's far more considered then what you would initially expect. [R] 68 mins.
AKA: Lisa Lisa
AKA: The Virgin Slaughter
AKA: The Axe Murders
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