In June of 1912, six members of the Moore family and two of their guests were found dead in the small Iowa town of Villisca. All of the victims had head wounds from an axe. Despite an extensive investigation and two trials, the case was never solved. 104 years later, writers Kevin Abrams and Owen Egerton, along with director Tony Valenzuela, have adapted The Axe Murders of Villisca into a supernatural horror film.
While a recreation of the real life murders do feature in the film, the primary focus is on Caleb (Robert Adamson) and Denny (Jarrett Sleeper), two teenagers with a ghost chasing youtube channel, and a new girl that they befriended, Jess (Alex Frnka). The three start out taking a tour of the house where the Villisca Murders occured. It is a cheesy tour, with mannequin laying where the victims fell, not really impressing the trio. They are soon evicted from the house, but not before Jess hears something ghostly causing a bit of a commotion.
Now, it would not be a horror movie in they took the hint and ran for the hills. No, they decide to go back after dark and break in for the “real” tour. Once they enter the house, they have to confront the past, and not just the house’s past. They have social and family issues that they are dealing with and/or running from, much of which comes to light in supernatural ways, putting their lives in jeopardy.
Unfortunately, those looking for scares might be disappointed as they are kinda limited; at least to me, I do not scare easily. But in place of an over abundance of horror is decent character development, entertaining acting, and an interesting history lesson. Anyone interested in unsolved real world mysteries might enjoy Valenzuela’s take on the Villisca axe murders.