If I See Randy Again… (Short, 2006)

If I See Randy Again... (click for larger image)Starring Ryan Blakely, Craig Brown, Mike “Nug” Nahrgang, Dan Redican

Directed by Vivieno Caldinelli

15 minutes

You know what we don’t see enough of in horror movies? Lumberjacks. Yeah, I said lumberjacks. Big, burly, plaid-wearing, axe-wielding lumberjacks. When you think about it, why AREN’T there more lumberjacks in horror movies? What with the muscles and the sharp weapons… it seems like a perfect fit. It’s amazing no one ever thought of it.

Well, lucky for us someone did, that someone being Canadian born Vivieno Caldinelli. And what he came up with was If I See Randy Again, Do You Want Me to Hit Him with the Axe?, the short horror comedy with the long but hilarious title about lumberjacks under a lot of stress. Why would lumberjacks be stressed, you ask? Well, Karl and his crew of Otis, Bruce, and the titular Randy are isolated out in the woods, they have to cut a certain amount of wood by the end of the season, and the deadline is drawing close.

There is a definite pecking order in the group with Karl as the older ringleader, Bruce and Otis as the mid-level buffoons who do as they’re told, and Randy as the goofy and naïve ingénue. The hierarchy is further reinforced by the code of the shirts. Karl wears the blue shirt, and according to the book of rules, what the blue shirt says goes. All lumberjacks adhere to the rules set out in the book. Bruce and Otis wear red shirts, and Randy wears the green shirt – the lowest level.

The problems start when Karl doesn’t pay enough attention while chopping some wood Randy’s holding and accidentally slices off a piece of his face with the axe. Surprisingly, when Randy awakes, he doesn’t feel the injury, and the guys hatch a plan to reattach the flap of skin without Randy knowing so he will be all healed up when they have to go back into town. It’s a hair-brained scheme, and you definitely have to suspend your disbelief at the opening credits; but if you do, you’ll have a really great time.

If I See Randy Again... (click for larger image)While it’s clear Caldinelli was working with a bare bones budget, he’s done a lot with a little. The acting is very strong, especially Ryan Blakely’s performance as Randy, although Dan Redican’s Karl is good too. The story and dialogue are top notch, affording lots of laughs and quite a few cringes. And while there’s no really fancy camera work, the look is crisp and a lot better than most independent films. The horror in Randy (the breath saving title) is light, mostly consisting of some minimal gore and the terrible things men will do to each other, but I think it’s still safe to say this is a solid entry in the genre.

With the slightest twist, the removal of the comedic element, this film would be very uncomfortable. But lucky for us, the comedy carries it to a lighthearted level that’s perfect for genre fans on the lookout for a bit of bloody fun. The only thing I can really complain about is that, given how far-fetched the basic plot is, Randy doesn’t go quite as over the top as it could have. Though that may be attributable to time and budget constraints, it would have been nice to see a bit more comedy and a bit more horror.

Caldinelli has several credits to his name and has won quite a few awards. After watching Randy, I’m not surprised. It’s the kind of short film that you can watch over again and still enjoy. His efforts prior to Randy have all been comedy shorts or comedy-slash (as in comedy/action) at the least, and he’s very adept at it. But given the dark elements presented in Randy, I for one hope he dabbles in the macabre a little more often. One thing’s for sure though: If you see Randy, you might want to have that axe handy… in case he gets up to any of his tricks.

If I See Randy Again, Do You Want Me To Hit Him With the Axe? has been making the festival circuit, so if you have a festival near you (not just horror fests either), you can go check it out for yourself, or visit them on their Myspace page.

3 1/2 out of 5

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Jon Condit