“I come from the crews—I started out on crews… I was a set dresser, fluff boy…”
– Bill Paxton

Bill’s directorial debut is a gothic horror movie about a serial killer known as God’s Hand. Told in flashback by a man claiming to be the killer’s brother, it’s the story of a kind, hard-working widower raising two sons, who believes he has been visited by an angel of God and given the task of destroying demons in preparation for the coming Apocalypse. The younger son believes in Dad’s story, but the older of the two boys thinks, quite understandably, that Dad’s gone nuts, especially when he starts kidnapping folks and taking an axe to them out in the shed.

Creepy and unsettling, with its hypnotically ticking soundtrack and shadowy visuals, the movie doesn’t shriek or spatter you with gore; it just sneaks up on you quietly until it has you by the throat and won’t let go. Bill is wonderful as Dad, an earnest man who truly believes he’s doing God’s work. He makes you wonder what it would be like to be visited by an angel and told you must do terrible things.

He’s got the screen time, he’s got the axe, he’s got the seventies sideburns. “Are you afraid?” Hell, yes.

Three stars, for a chilling and thought-provoking ride.

Dead or Alive?