I found myself almost looking forward to Lumberjack Man most of the 8 Films collection. The cover-work and title and everything else looked like a clear indication of what the film would be about. A generic slasher film with one-dimensional characters and no-names for the slaughter of a masked figure. A genre that has been done to death a million times I still enjoy from time to time because slashers were such a big-part of my childhood. A good slasher film is like winning the lottery though, a broken clock that's right twice every few years with 1438 times when that clock is wrong. A normal person would buy a new clock, … and yet…
Lumberjack Man follows the tried and true formula of a slasher film by premise only, and finds itself heavily leaning on the comedic-side. The films about a bunch of teens who head to church camp and find themselves massacred by a 'demon logger'. Sounds familiar? Swap 'church camp' with 'summer camp,' and you have a million other films like it, right? Right, but the film's antagonist is a lumberjack who was murdered for not selling his famous flapjack recipe and has returned to feast on blood-soaked flapjacks as revenge. Right.
The film's cast includes Michael Madsen (known actor, The Hateful Eight), Adam Sessler (character I enjoyed the most), and Ciara Flynn (main-girl).
Like I said, Lumberjack Man leans an awful lot on comedy to carry it as a feature film. No big deal, such comedies are very common. For example, 2015's The Final Girl is an example of a well-received horror-comedy film. The difference between them, however, is coherence. Lumberjack Man isn't a coherent film at all. In the first twenty or so minutes, the humor works. A camp counselor named Doug introduces himself and decrees every time a high-school student behaves, a marble goes into a jar. If the jar's full at the end of the week, a pizza party! I laughed. Funny in a ridiculous, cheese-ball sort-of way, and that's whyAdam Sessler's character was my favorite part about the flick.
The best way I could describe Lumberjack Man is to say it is dependent on zany outlandishness. The introduction starts with promise, but … from there, the film absolutely falls apart. Gratuitous nudity plagues this film. This is a horror-trope, no less common that campy humor, but this film has no problem in using it as a crutch, again and again. Every other scene seems to lead to a topless chick flaunting herself. Splash fights and syrup, Lumberjack Man is a film without shame. In-fact, one scene involves two campers watching a counselor slather herself in oil in a scene that goes on forever that comes equipped with cheesy music for good measure. Sex sells, but come on!
Is it my own fault? I always find reviews telling me to keep 'expectations in check,' but that's a ridiculous, cop-out excuse. I've watched hundreds and hundreds of horror films in my years, and there is no reason why Lumberjack Man shouldn't be better. 'Expectations in check,' as if I watch the film anticipating John Carpenter's Halloween, but all I want is functionality, structure, and balance.
The film introduces the final-girl as a confident, against the grain protagonist, but her character and the narrative forget all that's established before the second-quarter concludes. A wild food fight scene appears out-of-nowhere like a Pokemon in a forest.
The acting isn't deplorable by low-budget standards, and even the most cringe-worthy moments seem more faulted by the directing and script than anything else. But, the characters are deplorable, whether it be the main-girl's lack of consistency or the random, nonsensical fan-service. Lumberjack Man runs at 105 minutes (counting credits) which makes it the longest run-timefor any of the 8 Films to Die For I've watched so far by a hefty margin, but the thing is, with the amount of messing around, this could have been substantially shorter.
Long story short, Lumberjack Man is a nonsensical, ultimately bad film with occasional charm dispelled by terrible characters. It has entertaining moments for sure but the bad deeply outweighs the good on this one.