A group of teens at a first offender’s boot camp encounter an axe-wielding, 15-foot tall giant who was banished from a local village 100 years ago, and still stalks the forest seeking bloody revenge. Joe Estevez and Dan Haggerty star. (synopsis from Fandango)
Some times, I have to wonder why I pick the movies I do. I mean, look at the cover and the synopsis. What would anyone think they were getting themselves into with a horror movie based on the legend of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox?
Well, I received pretty much what I expected. A low budget, poorly shot movie with bad effects. There was no attempt to develop the characters, and I even spent the majority of time waiting for the delinquents, the blond coach, and the cop to die. Badly. Everyone was either severely over the top (the cop/ranger or whatever he was) or so cliched it was ridiculous (all of the teens and the naive office monkey).
[SPOILERS] It’s the 1800’s and a party of lumberjacks and their families are living in the woods, cutting down trees for homesteads. Within the first 15 minutes, we have already been treated to a “save the trees” speech from a lumberjack. While I’m all for saving the environment, having a lumberjack carrying an axe spout off about saving the trees was ridiculous. If that message would have continued throughout the movie as a subplot, it may have made a little more sense. As it was, it didn’t fit in at all.
One lumberjack is basting (I’ve never seen anyone cook an ox or any other meat without fire, I was very confused as to what he was doing to the meat) a large roast. As the leader of the lumberjacks leaves the site (since he has a tiny bladder, according to the other lumberjacks), the dinner bell rings out. The leader returns to find everyone has been butchered. He is pushed into a giant spinning saw blade by a deformed, super strong man.
Here I want to jump forward into time in the movie and discuss the reason behind this slaughter. Turns out the lumberjacks killed Babe the Blue Ox and ate him. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I would eat anything that has eyes like Babe. Take a look at the left. I mean, seriously WTF.
So, we jump back to present day with the troubled teens being sent to hike in the forest as a sort of “first time offender” program. We have internet thieves (who someone also know how to hot wire cars), DUI’s, drug distributors, etc. All kids who have “sinned” and have lead a life that by popular horror conventions indicates that they are killer bait. Those kids who increase their “sin” level by adding sex, theft, etc to their lists are guaranteed brutal, poorly effected deaths.
Let’s look at the cliches that pop up here: teens almost have sex and die, giant man is a ninja (reminding me of Grizzly Park), and so many more. The cop/ranger is an over-the-top copy of R. Lee Ermey who is pretty much begging to meet Paul’s axe sharp edge first.
So why was Paul Bunyan angry at the hikers? One of the teens looted one of Babe’s horns from the shrine Paul built for his best and only friend, Babe the Blue Ox. So, a teen looted a forbidden object from a tomb which leads us to the killing.
A fifteen foot giant cannot sneak up on anything. I’m sorry, but even if he was tip-toeing through the woods, he would never be able to sneak up on the things he did sneak up on. Let’s see. A giant, rumbling grizzly bear sneaks up on an obviously deaf deer. Giant Paul Bunyan sneaks up on the grizzly and breaks its neck while the deer stands there chewing its food placidly. He also sneaks up on one stupid teen and cuts her in half lengthwise. Everyone else is able to hear him coming, but she is distracted by her cell phone.
The special effects were poorly done and some of the camera angles weren’t effective. The effects were more of a distraction than anything. Watching scenery outside of car windows go by as the actors drove was nauseating.
I’m really not going to go any farther with the deep dive into the movie. The film was poorly made, not enough time was dedicated to character development, and the story rambled about. It couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a “kill the monster” flick, a slasher movie, or a “feel bad for the poor mistreated giant” film. Pick one plot direction and stick with it. Overall, I would have to rate this movie a 2 out of 10. Unless you are obsessed with Paul Bunyan, I really wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.