When five friends decide to go camping in search of another one, things get multi-dimensionally horrific in the new movie The Axiom, and iHorror has your first look.
You know these friends are in for something extraordinary when one of the characters references the film The Most Dangerous Game in the first act.
The missing friend Marylyn disappeared after making her way to the same camping spot called “Cinder Park.” She is also the sister to two of the campers McKenzie (Hattie Smith) and big brother Martin (Zac Titus).
A helpful tip on where to find Marylyn comes from a questionable source, Craigslist, and a man named Leon who says he knows where she is and how to find her.
Upon arrival to Leon’s mountain-side outpost, McKenzie discovers that her sister’s disappearance is more than what it seems, but it is too extraordinary to believe. Relentless she must test Leon’s claims by putting her friends and her brother in mortal danger.
Added to the mix is frazzled friend Edgar who has recently recovered from a breakdown, leaving him and us wondering why the sun never sets in Cinder Park.
With references to The Matrix and Silent Hill, The Axiom lays its supernatural groundwork with character development and wonderfully so.
It’s refreshing to see a film that builds its characters from the inside out instead of throwing well-worn archetypes to the monsters, this is a risky intellectual move by the filmmakers, luckily for us they have a talented cast who read and understood the script, filling out their respective characters in every dimension.
Director Nicholas Woods has some slack to play with here and fills it not with disposable potboiler victim profiles, but honest to goodness people we genuinely care for who make decisions, not because of diagramed plot mapping, but because they have no other choices.
“I don’t think we are where we think we are,” says one character which gives the confused viewer peace of mind because they most likely feel the same way.
Lead Smith takes the storyline by the reins, she’s a powerful rational woman who navigates through Cinder Park’s madness keeping her mind and top intact. Smith doesn’t make McKenzie a wide-eyed naif, but an able-minded survivor.
Special effects aren’t what’s going to grab you here, there is a wonderful homage to something out of Guillermo Del Toro’s creature shop and one giant show-stopping reveal, but other than that, we’ve seen some of these pale-faced ghouls before.
It should also be noted that the film is almost completely made of practical effects so hats off to the make-up gang.
Intelligently crafted, well-acted and undeniably thought-provoking, The Axiom proves that horror movies need not be mindless to be effective nor senseless to be scary.
With a twist that swerves into an entirely new concept in the last reel (remember that movie reference in the beginning?), Woods makes sure not everything is summed up by the end leaving the portal open for further chapters in this sinister story.
The Axiom is only the beginning of what we imagine will become a rousing franchise, at least we hope so.