“Ax” is a short film directed by Michael Coulombe, it’s running time is just 9 minutes. I read some stellar reviews about this directorial debut, so I thought I better check it out. Ax explores a mysterious man’s decent into madness, eventually culminating in the realisation that he has killed his wife. It stars Todd James Jackson and Marita Gomsrud. The estimated budget for this is around $1,000.
I’ve only seen a few short films and due to their short running times it usually takes a fair bit to impress me. Randall Plunkett’s “Out There” is one that really stands out. Ax delivers the technical aspects involved in great filmmaking with absolute precision. Most of the story is shot in a nice location in a heavily wooded forest. A cabin is also used towards the end. It’s really crisply shot and swiftly edited. The best thing Ax has going for it though is the realistic and captivating narration. I found myself listening mostly to that calm, controlled monologue more so than actually watching the film, which is both a good and bad thing.
I think there are a few scenes that are a little too dark inside the cabin. The gorehound in me would have like to have seen the attack shown on-screen with some cool practical effects. It’s simply shot and then the aftermath shown, which I assume is due to the low budget. The choice of having no conventional dialogue other than narration is a tricky thing to pull off too. It can make the viewer lose interest, though if you don’t have a 9 minute attention span there is something seriously wrong with your wiring (haha).
Ax is a well made short that gives you a glimpse into the mind of a madman. It would be interesting to see the direction the story would have gone if it was a full length feature, although it still works well as a short film. Congratulations to Michael for all the praise the film is getting and I wish him the best of luck with his upcoming projects!
My rating for Ax is 7/10