Directed by Josh Bear
Written by Josh Bear, Bill Muehl
Starring Michael Madsen, Ciara Flynn, Jarrett King, Adam Sessler
Continuing with our look at the latest round of the Eight Films to Die For releases we've got Lumberjack Man. In the grandest tradition of the After Dark Horrorfest series, there will be much more than meets the eye waiting for you here. But will it be any good?
Lumberjack Man follows a church's bible camp in the making, with the only slightly cringey title of "Fun Under the Son." Having been to one or two of these affairs myself, they're inoffensive enough if a bit bland. This one, however, is about to get a lot spicier than anyone saw coming thanks to one new feature: the unexpected resurrection of a demon logger--the titular Lumberjack Man--who's decided it's high time to chop some campers and chow down on some flapjacks, not necessarily in that order. Now the bible camp must find a way to survive the horror unleashed upon it for...well...reasons, and live to see another bible camp another day.
Some here might be rolling their eyes at the prospect of another "monster movie," but remember, this is an After Dark monster movie, and we've had some real champs from them before. Remember The Gravedancers, as well as Dying Breed, Mulberry St., and even Perkins' 14 in a sense. These guys know monster movies, so you can be reasonably assured this will be a trope-busting doozy par excellence going in.
Oh, and yes, that IS Adam "We Couldn't Afford Olivia Munn" Sessler of "X-Play" fame you saw in there as Camp Director Doug. You're not hallucinating. You're welcome. And he's absolutely killing it.
The rest of the movie, meanwhile, is every bit what you'd expect from an After Dark monster movie. Featuring ludicrous premises, ludicrous killings--check out the dual-decapitation from one axe swing!--and of course, ludicrous characterizations. You'll never believe the connection Lumberjack Man has to flapjacks. Yes, that line wasn't just a throwaway in the opening paragraph...flapjacks are a plot device in this film.
Oh, and then there's the matter of boobs. Yes, they're here, and plenty of them. At least a dozen such sightings hit within the first 20 minutes including both real and illustrated; somewhere, Joe Bob Briggs is twitching on the floor and speaking in tongues.
Lumberjack Man can get a little awkward sometimes--I spent more than a little time on the pause button trying frantically to marshal mental resources sufficient to get past the cringe this movie could generate--but when it's not being awkward and unpleasant, it's being the most awkward kind of entertaining.
However, it does have sort of a tendency to wear out its welcome. It could have used some editing. A food fight sequence, for example, goes on for about three straight minutes. Though there are some noteworthy sight gags in here--some foods should not be part of a food fight, like entire cakes--it's still a bit overdone.
The ending is ludicrous, and it knows it. It even acknowledges how thoroughly insane it is, and carries on anyway. That's par for the course here. You know how some movies go out with a bang? This one goes out with a quack.
Special features here are once again nonexistent. Way to fall down on the job, Fox.
All in all, an excellent try. It goes too far, then goes a lot farther, and sometimes just wears out its welcome. It's a sound little outing that could have benefitted from some editing, but it will deliver its share of laughs, a few shocks, and enough blood and syrup to fill three movies.