We’ll deviate from a full length feature this week and discuss the short horror film Ax. Ax marks the directorial debut for Michael Coulombe (a script supervisor by trade), and I think he did a pretty darn good job. Wait…I called this a horror film, didn’t I? Well, I suppose you could call it a horror. You could also call it a psychological thriller. There are indeed heavy elements of both. Either way you spin it, I liked what I saw. The short film Ax follows a man’s inner struggle after the realization that he has just done something horrific. Clocking in at just under nine minutes, it was short and sweet. You’ll hear no complaints from me though. Nine minutes was enough to find myself wrapped up in the story. Efficient, wouldn’t you say?
Here’s the thing that I THINK I’ve come to realize in regards to short films. They are short. Why do I sound like a broken record? Because as it is a short film, there is an immediate challenge for the director to get his thoughts and actions across on screen quickly. There is no luxury of 90 minutes. There is….whatever, anywhere between 8-15 minutes (as a broad guess) to get your story out there, and to make it good to boot. It sounds daunting to me, but I think Ax does what it’s supposed to do in the allotted time.
Coulombe’s film is well written: eloquent and straight forward. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and immediately gives you the sense that the main character is not only alone in the woods, but alone in his own mind as well. The story builds nicely to a dreadful climax and I gave a slight cringe after seeing the terrible events transpire.
On the flip side of the coin, the timing of the acting was just a touch off during some key scenes, but not so much off that I got pissed and threw my remote into the fish tank. It was noticeable, but not detrimental to the overall story.
Again, it’s a short watch so you have to be quick to like it or not like it. I liked it, and I’m giving it a potent 6 out of 10 cleavers.
We can expect to see more from Michael Coulombe. He is the founder of Bear Claw Films and co-founder of the Big Bear Horror Festival, now in its fourth year. If you want to learn more about his upcoming projects, head over to bearclawfilms.com. You can also help fund his latest project, The Beauty of Death, at indiegogo. Go now and follow that project on Twitter @Evilgrows and his film company @_bearclawfilms_.
You can watch the full short HERE!