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Excellent, faithful, loving homage.

  • Jan 28, 2012
Rating:
+4
***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 than that they all die in the end. Yep, that's all you need to know.

Alright, so perhaps a few of them are worth mentioning, as characters. It all starts with best buddies Ben (Joel David Moore) and Marcus (Deon Richmond); the former who quickly tires of the Mardi Gras celebration downtown, which his buddies are readily enjoying. Ben is recovering from a bad breakup; and the abundance of hot, half-naked women at the party scene isn't doing much to help him. Thus, he must reach to the back of his mind; where he remembers of a "haunted swamp tour" in the nearby area; mentioned and recommended by a friend.

So they make their way over to the place where tours are given, pay the fee, and board the bus that shall bring them to the swamp. Also aboard; the rest of the film's major characters. Such people include: sleazy pornographic filmmaker (Joel Murray), his two starlets (Mercedes McNab and Joleigh Fioreavanti), happily-married and happy-to-be-here couple (Richard Riehle and Patrika Darbo), and a strange loner named Marybeth (Tamara Feldman).

While Parry Shen, as the tour guide, isn't a particularly good, funny, or interesting one; he is the least of our problems, especially when the boat meets the fate that I mentioned earlier. It does indeed sink, thus provoking the others to safely walk from capsizing boat to slippery tree and rocks, and finally to land. Since basic and common logic says so, there's always help nearby; but of course, with these kinds of movies, there never quite is. An infamous legend - the deformed madman Victor Crowley - haunts the swamp area; hatchet - and many other assorted weapons to go along with it - in hand. And he's out for blood; preferably that of man.

The writer and director of "Hatchet" is Adam Green. Like many beginning filmmakers working in this genre; he's been a horror fanatic since childhood and only now is he putting his knowledge and endless admiration to good use. The film is a sort of homage - a throwback - to 70's/80's slasher films; complete with its share of nudity, blood, guts, and gore. This would typically boring, even for a horror-comedy, but Green has a lot more than a few simple, cheap winks up his sleeve; and he's basically out to prove that he's the real deal, and I think he succeeds in doing so.

Alright, I confess; I watch a lot of slasher movies both new and old. Few of them really impress me; but I think I'm drawn to them because I've learned from now that surprises can come out of nowhere, much like the villains in all these horror films that I watch. "Hatchet" is a rather delightful celebration of excess; it is an absolutely over-the-top-gruesome bloodbath that pretty much rivals any of recent memory. It's a thoroughly fun, hilarious, genuinely clever debut. And it's also one of the best slasher movies - and horror movies as a whole - from the previous decade.

Unlike a lot of filmmakers of recent, Green understands that style comes in all forms; narrative, visual, etc. He employs dark - almost too dark - cinematography and buckets of blood to give "Hatchet" the sort of unique, classy, nostalgic feel that it needs to bring it to near-perfection; and it would seem that he was fully committed the entire time whilst making it. Sure, it doesn't have suspense; and sure, it isn't scary. But is it really meant to be? The film can either be viewed as a dark, gruesome, almost outlandishly daring (in violence) horror-comedy; or you can choose to be a cynical asshole, and you can take the whole thing completely seriously. Let's just say that it's your choice.

However, I personally wouldn't want to miss out on such an devoted love letter to an often discriminated part of cinema; especially when it's got such a good filmmaker attached to it as well as such a good cast - including genre favorites such as Tony Todd (Candyman), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), John Carle Buechler (make-up artist and director for a few of the "Friday the 13th" sequels) and Joshua Leonard (one of the stars of "The Blair Witch Project"). Given such attributes, I feel that "Hatchet" almost down-right PROMISES those who tread its waters a good time at the movies. I for one had a lot of guilty, perhaps even memorable fun with the film; and I can't wait to hear from Green in the future. I think he's got a lot ahead of him; or at least that's my personal forecast. And it will be an accurate one as long as "Hatchet" doesn't lie; and let me tell you, this one, it probably doesn't.

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More Hatchet reviews
review by . August 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Birth Of A New Horror Icon in a Mediocre Film?
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.   …
review by . February 08, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #2
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki

  • Hatchet
  • Opened September 7, 2007 | Runtime:1 hr. 22 min.
  • R
    strong bloody violence, sexual content, nudity and language
  • A group of tourists on a haunted swamp tour find one of the horrific local legends to be true. They try to escape alive--and with all of their pieces.
  • Cast: Joel David Moore, Tamara Feldman, Deon Richmond, Mercedes McNab, Joleigh Fioreavanti
  • Director: Adam Green
  • Genres: Slasher FilmHorror
  • Poster art for "Hatchet."
  • view wiki
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