Hatchet (the trilogy) – Film

Hatchet (the trilogy) 

Hatchet (2006) Unrated Director’s Cut

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Writer/director Adam Green offers the audience what is intended to be the next big name in the American slasher genre.  Though it may be the same slasher archetype, given a rich new setting and a face… redesign (can’t really call it a facelift now, can we), it also gives the audience some really wonderful over-the-top gore scenes, dismemberment, evisceration, buckets of blood splashed around, and fun, though stereotypical, characters.

Joel David Moore is our would-be-hero, Ben, brought to New Orleans by his friends for Marti Gras in an attempt to cheer him up after being dumped by his girlfriend.  Uninterested in the traditional Marti Gras overindulgence of booze and boobs, Bed decides to take a haunted boat tour.   Unwilling to abandon Ben, his buddy Marcus (Deon Richmond) decides to accompany him.  Along with Shawn (Parry Shen), the inept tour guide, who switches from an affected Cajun drawl to rapidly ranting in Chinese when he gets frustrated, a sleazy trio filming for “Bayou Beavers;” an older married couple; and the aloof and mysterious Marybeth (Tamara Feldman) who is the only one who seems to know what is actually going on; they set out into Honey Island Swamp, a forbidden section of the Louisiana swamp at night.  Kane Hodder gives the audience exactly what they want, as both the tragic, disfigured Victor Crowley and his father.  Watch for cameos of horror icons, Tony Todd and Robert Englund.

As a archetypal slasher film, fans of the genre are guaranteed topless women, jump scares, and bloody thrills.  What more could anyone ask for?  A few nice non-standards with the ending, may turn some viewers off.  The first time I saw Hatchet, not knowing that there was a sequel coming, I thought the ending was quite fresh and effective.  Not all movies need happy endings.  I gave this film 3 1/2 shots.
1/2

 

 

Hatchet 2 (2010) Unrated Director’s Cut

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In this sequel, Adam Green’s story picks up exactly where the first left off: with Victor Crowley struggling to hold onto Marybeth in the boat.  Marybeth, now played by the feisty, hugely talented scream queen, Danielle Harris, escapes from the bayou-butcher and makes it back to New Orleans where she goes to Reverend Zombie (the estimable Tony Todd expanding on his cameo from the first movie) for answers about Victor Crowley and for help.   Rev. Zombie recruits a group of carefully selected gator hunters and local bad asses to retrieve the boat from the ill fated tour the previous night and to take Marybeth, ostensibly, to retrieve the bodies of her father and brother.  Of note, Parry Shen returns in this film, as Shawn the inept tour guide’s brother, Rev. Zombie’s assistant, Justin.

The viewer can expect more of the over the top kill scenes, more gore, and more buckets of blood splattered onto trees.  There is even a scene dedicated to the sleazy filmmaker at the beginning.

This is definitely an improvement on the first movie.  Crowley’s back story is explored.  The motivation for returning to the swamp so quickly is plausible, or at least as plausible as can be expected.  The biggest improvement was the choice to cast Danielle Harris as our heroine, Marybeth.  She looks so tiny, and occasionally vulnerable next to everyone else in this, that it’s easy to forget that she was the lone survivor the first time she encountered Crowley.   However, when Harris throws off the gloves, she’s got a charisma and presence that makes her stand out.  The ending scene of this film is a brilliant example.

I gave this installment 4 shots for getting a sequel right.

 

 

Hatchet 3 (2013) Unrated Director’s Cut

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After destroying Victor Crowley, Marybeth (Danielle Harris) believes she is finally done, and turns herself in at the local sheriff’s office.  Having sent some deputies to check out Marybeth’s story, Sheriff Fowler (Zach Galligan) is soon informed that a massacre has indeed occurred in Honey Island Swamp.  During the investigation, the search and recovery crew realize that the massacre isn’t quite over yet.  While they struggle to survive, the sheriff’s ex-wife, Amanda (Caroline Williams), a journalist and self-proclaimed expert on the Victor Crowley legend, takes up the mantle of co-protagonist, and forces an unwilling Marybeth to go back to the swamp to end Crowley permanently.

The inventive practical and make up effects continue, with a visual onslaught of gore.  The audience is treated to several familiar faces including: Zach Galligan (seriously, I just can’t pass up an opportunity to mention Gremlins), the still smoking hot Caroline Williams,  Derek Mears, Rileah Vanderbilt (who appeared in the first 2 films of the series as young Victor), Sean Whalen, Sid Haig, and Joel David Moore.  Danielle Harris reprises her role as a shell-shocked and exhausted Marybeth.  Also, Parry Shen returns, this time as Andrew, one of the paramedics charged with collecting the bodies.

Although the resolution to the legend of Victor Crowley is a little hokey, it follows logically with the previous movies. This installment, more like the first, adds more humorous elements, where the second had tried to be darker and more serious.  And, as with the previous movies, the ending is left at what could be a good ending point, or a good jumping point for a 4th film.

I gave this film 4 shots.  Again, a solid sequel that moved the story forward rather than rehashing the same points covered in the previous films, but also a gave solid end to the trilogy.

 

 

Overall, it’s a creative trilogy, for a slasher franchise, and I liked it.  Although it was left open for the possibility of more, I think it’s strong as it is, and more movies would simply be redundant.  The franchise as a whole gets 4 shots.

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