I have no recollection of putting this movie in my list on Netflix, but it appeared, so here is the review.
The Axe Murders of Villisca starts with a little bit of a bite. Unfortunately, after the introduction the tone and style of the film completely change… and we get another teen horror film. As a side note, I hate hearing phones ring in a movie. Who doesn’t answer their phone by the third ring (when it is right next to them)!? I teach, and believe me, teenagers are attached to their phones. That shit would be answered on the first ring.
Anyway, back to the movie.
The acting is not great, I mean the teenagers are intolerable and annoying. Homophobic bullies run amok and the students don’t seem to care enough to step in. It is a great commentary on how we view high school. Rape culture, slut shaming, homophobia, and a variety of other garbage in the first fifteen minutes. If this is a realistic portrayal then this is a social catastrophe, if this is an unrealistic portrayal than it is beyond offensive. Just once I would like to see educational professionals presented as anything other than complete morons.
Troubled teens take refuge in a haunted house. Clichéd, sure, but at least the characters are believably isolated. Why would you go to a haunted house? Why not? I don’t know. Film seems to argue teenagers are dumb. (They are ghost hunters, but I like my reason more).
The film is independent (I think) and the camera is at time odd. Fast movements look weird, almost like there is a frame rate increase or decrease. The characters are also hyper-focused in each scene. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it did stand out. The film looks fine, but the dialogue goes from horribly bad to kind of good (and back and forth) to the point that it all seems a bit shitty. Also, the music is too loud and too obnoxious in almost every scene. I know this is something I gripe about a lot, but it drives me crazy.
The movie takes the backdrop from a real unsolved crime; however, it really only uses the historical thing as setting. Unfortunately, the film chooses to add more than the three main characters to the story. The dumbass bullies should have been left as just a plot motivator and not included into the main story. Little errors like that tend to drag the film down. Too many of the scenes are just kind of filler to later events. A deft hand could have perhaps foreshadowed things in a less obvious way, but here it is more so annoying.
An uneven film with some interesting cinematography. Overall, this is one you could skip. 3/10.