No other film has received such mixed reviews more than “HATCHET” (2007) among my friends. Most of them, hated this film, while lately, it has began to achieve a minor cult following. “Hatchet” is the type of film that definitely depends on what you are looking for in a movie experience. I think a film requires somewhat of an acquired taste, but one thing, I have to say it is a homage to the 80’s “slasher” flicks and NOT to be taken seriously.
Mardi Gras, New Orleans: two friends, Marcus (Deon Richmond) and Ben (Joel David Moore) are gallivanting around the town, drinking and scoping out the sights (I mean half naked women). Ben becomes insistent on taking a haunted swamp tour. They come across a pretty but moody young local woman named Marybeth (Tamara Feldman) who is actually looking for her father and her brother who had disappeared in this same swamp some nights ago. When the boat hit’s a boulder and sinks, the group is forced to walk back to the city. Little do they know that a monstrous killer called Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) is hot on their trail and they must fight their way to survive.
Adam Green’s low-budget movie is an attempt to return to the days of Jason, Madman, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger because it is well-known that iconic killers can make such a low-budget film shine. There are two ways to approach this film. Take it as a humorous venture into the world of slasher flicks, much like you should see “Eight Legged Freaks” and ignore whatever faults it has. Another way, is to envision the film as something where there is no ambition in its casting, it follows the same formulaic elements and criticize its measly budget. But the question has to be, did the film present a new successful figure in the books of “slashing” villains?
Well, Victor Crowley is a blend of Jason Voorheese and Freddy Krueger, mixed in with Leatherface and Madman. The film would owe a lot of royalties to other iconic slasher films. Crowley just won’t die, no matter how many times you stab him, shoot him or burn him. Crowley just keeps on going and revels on the murder that he has been doing. I would like to see him take on Jason. “Victor vs. Jason” anyone? (oh no, did I just pitch an idea?)
The film doesn’t bring anything new to the horror genre and has a very “exaggerated” execution and it does it intentionally. Director/writer Adam Green knew that he had to make fun of his own creation. The characters are a vacationing couple, two friends looking for a good time, a couple of air headed bimbos, a pervert and a young woman on a mission led by an Asian man. The characters themselves seemed very unlikable, and Green meant it to be this way. The script is too hollow and the dialogue can get laughable if you don’t see that it was meant to be this way. “Janey’s got a gun”, a statue masturbating, and the “quippy” attempts at humor by Deon Richmond and Perry Chen can either be annoying or amusing. The proceedings do seem pointless a lot of times.
Now, the film does have some inventive “kill” sequences. The blood and gore are done “old-school” way; no CGI or special effects--the film utilizes the use of prosthetics and a lot of gooey red ink. Japanese splatter horror elements are sometimes used on some scenes to again make fun of itself. Turning one’s head 180 degrees or ripping the arms out of their sockets may not be original but it is fun to watch. Yes, if you are looking for an abundance of blood and gore, then this film will satisfy--just don’t think it will be horrifying, it will for the most part, feel a little comedic.
“Hatchet” is a actually more a cheesy attempt on comedy than a horror film. I do accept the fact that the film is making fun of itself, but the characters are just plain bad that they’re bad. I do try to see it as a homage and all, but I just can’t say for sure just what the filmmakers wanted to do. It’s not really funny, but funny in a way that it is silly. It isn’t scary, the gore effects while well-done doesn‘t feel unnerving. To its credit, I did laugh out loud at some scenes and the film does have a good amount of nudity. Kane Hodder is both amusing and imposing as the killer. I do think Adam Green probably loved his slasher flicks so much that he wanted to relive them. I’m not exactly sure what Green expected from his viewers. Does it feel like I’m confused? I am. Maybe that is what Adam Green wanted, a audience full of mixed reactions, as a result of his mixed direction. I’ll take “JASON X” over this.
***1/2 out of **** "Hatchet" belongs to a long list of movies where a giant, hulking humanoid monster pops out of nowhere and starts killing people. In this case, that monster is a disfigured mutant named Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder); and those people are an unlikely bunch that take a New Orleans swamp tour by boat, get stranded when it hits rocks and sinks, make way to land, and sooner or later, stare Victor Crowley in the face. You need not know much about this lot; other … more
This film takes place in New Orleans around mardi gras time... an assortment of folks end up on a swamp tour of death, entering the domain of "hatchet," a deformed killer who will ruthlessly slash and dismember his victims. The cast do a decent job within what they had to work with in this gory, unoriginal tale. The film is relatively short and the plot is focused in the 2nd half on who can escape the swamp before being grotesquely slain by the killer. There isn't really that much in the way of … more