In Lumberjack Man, a group of teens head out for a week-long retreat at the Good Friends Church Camp. Naturally, they are unaware that the angry spirit of a logger has resurfaced to take his bloody vengeance for the ways he was wronged in life. Now with the help of a strange man from out of town who knows all about the history of this Lumberjack, a few brave souls choose to fight back before it’s too late.
Returning from a five-year hiatus and with a new partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, the After Dark Horrorfest is back with a new crop of “8 Films to Die For.” All the films were released in select theaters and on VOD October 16, 2015, with a DVD release date of October 27, 2015.
After the relative seriousness of the first three 8 Films to Die For entries, Lumberjack Man is exactly the kind of relief I needed. It has an assortment of quirky characters, a campy and silly tone, and brutally ridiculous and bloody deaths. This is the kind of movie where everybody knows what kind of film they are in and you can tell that they are having fun with it, and performing in a way to ensure that the audience will have fun as well. Even though this is a movie about a church camp, the teenagers are just as potty-mouthed and sex-starved as they are in any other camp slasher film, and you don’t feel too terrible when they meet their brutal fates. There are boobs aplenty (which sometimes come about in quite hilarious scenes) and more than enough inventive and bloody kills for gorehounds like me.
Speaking of the kills, there are definitely a few honorable mentions there. Some of them are your standard beheadings and impalings, while others are much more clever. One character is bisected by a tree saw and must watch his lower body run away while he’s still alive, and another is impaled in the forehead with an old faucet, which the killer then turns on to let her blood flow out. Yet another girl’s body is folded into the shape of a table and thrown against a tree. Lumberjack Man himself is a wonderfully designed character–a hulking, 7-foot figure with long scraggly hair, and his glowing red eyes are behind what looks like a hunk of tree bark for a mask.
The thing that sets Lumberjack Man apart from the rest, however, is the crazy and nonsensical backstory that they have come up with for the villain. Somebody stole the Lumberjack Man’s recipe for the best pancakes in the land, and then drowned him in a vat of maple syrup. In the present day, he carries around a cart with a large stack of oversized pancakes (and actually uses one to bludgeon a girl to death eventually) and he must be stopped before he can finish eating all of his blood-soaked flapjacks or else he will become much stronger. Leave it to a genre film to bring horror to the most unlikely of places, like America’s favorite breakfast food.
Also See: Re-Kill [8 Films to Die For Review]This is a slasher movie, so don’t expect to get deeply developed characters. Though the movie is more of an ensemble film, the appropriately named Faith is basically our main character, and a pretty awesome one at that. She looks sweet on the outside, and can still talk smack and defend herself. She fights Lumberjack Man along with the hilarious camp cook Reggie and Michael Madsen’s character, Dr. Shirtcliff. Madsen may seem a little out of place in a horror comedy as silly as this, but you can tell that he is playing with his established persona as the guy with the serious face and the serious voice and turning it on its head. He has great comedic timing here and gives his character lots of fun little quirks that make him very fun to watch.
There are a couple of scenes where the fun atmosphere goes a little bit too far, and that took me out of the movie for a minute because it made me forget what kind of movie this really was. There’s a lengthy food fight scene with a bunch of the campers, and two scenes where boys are spying on girls while they go skinny dipping, or after one girl gets out of the shower and is putting on lotion. This particular one is a little less sexy and more funny, though, as she eventually just empties the entire lotion bottle on her chest and it just becomes hilarious.
Still, Lumberjack Man is an immensely entertaining and fun little flick with dialogue and kills that will keep viewers laughing the whole way through.
WICKED RATING: 6/10
Director: Josh Bear
Writer(s): Josh Bear, Bill Muehl, Matt Entin, Ed Kuehnel
Stars: Michael Madsen, Ciara Flynn, Jarrett King
Studio/ Production Co: Madisonian Films, After Dark Films
Length: 105 minutes