David Arquette steps behind the camera to direct this gory horror comedy about a bunch of hippies headed to a free love concert out in the woods that get hacked up by psycho in a Ronald Reagan mask with a (literal) axe to grind.
There’s a veritable smorgasbord of hippie mutilating carnage including an excellent death by chainsaw (it gets stuck in a hippie’s neck and the motor keeps right on chugging), femurs through the skin, decapitations, spurting bloody stumps, gut ripping, and bodies being split apart.
The cast is a lot of fun and includes Jason Mewes (who is basically okay being typecast as a stoner), Lukas Haas and Jaime King as hippies. Pee Wee Herman is great as the greedy concert promoter, but it’s The Punisher himself, Thomas Jane (also an executive producer) who steals the most scenes as the gruff sheriff with a Village People moustache. Arquette also has a small role as a redneck and his wife Courtney Cox has a pretty funny cameo.
Arquette doesn’t reinvent the wheel with this flick, but he sure gets a lot of mileage out of it. He establishes a moody atmosphere, films the murders with gleeful abandon and puts the “Axe Cam” to good use. He goes a little overboard with the film’s many drug induced “trip” scenes, but since this is David’s first time out as director, I’m willing to give him a mulligan on it because he sure knows how to film maniacs in Halloween masks butchering people with an axe. He also tosses in a lot of random naked chicks, a sure sign of a competent director.
Jane gets the movie’s best line: “Is this what you call compassionate conservatism?”