Written by: jmh314
Sometimes a horror movie comes along that makes an immediate stamp on the genre. It finds ways to be fun, fresh, and innovative yet has that old school horror film feeling we all know and love. Adam Green's film Hatchet is exactly this type of film. Hatchet is a throwback to the slasher genre that is filled with tons of blood, original kills, and a villain that could make Freddy or Jason cry. Horror movies were invented for films like this!
Hatchet is a very simple story executed to perfection. It opens with two gator hunters in the swamp during the night. While in pursuit of a massive gator, they stumble upon something much more deadly. Without giving much away it is safe to say they would have been better off running into the massive gator.
Flash forward to day-time during Mardi Gras. A group of friends are out drinking and having a good time.....well almost. One of the guys, Ben, isn't having much fun because he is getting over a bad break up and says every girl he sees reminds him of his ex. He decides he'd rather go on a haunted swamp ride some friends told him about. As Ben leaves, his one friend Marcus feels bad for him and decides to go with. After going to the wrong place at first, Ben and Marcus finally find a place that does the haunted boat rides. They pay their money and get ready for some scares, and they have no idea how real it is going to be.
The group for the boat ride is made up of a random assortment of people. Ben and Marcus are joined by a husband and his wife named the Permatteo's, a film producer and two smoking hot aspiring actresses, and a mysteriously quite young lady. As they head off on the boat, their tour guide Shawn does his best to try and scare his passengers. It is soon discovered that Shawn doesnt know what he's doing and even gets the boat stuck on some rocks. The passengers are forced to climb a tree nearby to get to shore, but not before an accident to Mr Permatteo.
Once they get on land they realize they need to get help for Mr Permatteo's injury. The only way to do so is head into the woods. Finally our mysterious young lady speaks up. We find out her name is Marybeth and is a local. She is searching for her lost father and brother, who were our two gator hunters at the beginning.
Marybeth soon tells the story of Victor Crowley, a deformed young boy who was accidentally killed by his father. With people recently disappearing in this swamp she explains that legend has it Victor Cowley is haunting these woods. Marybeth says it is not safe for them to go further into the woods. The group foolishly decides that they have to if they are going to get Mr Permatteo help. Unfortunately Marybeth's story was true and all hell breaks loose as the group stumbles upon Victor Crowley. Victor Crowley lives....and he'll scare the shit out of you!
Let me start off by saying this film surprised me in many ways. The story sounds like your typical everyday slasher, but finds it's own identity. It uses some effective humor throughout the film, but yet I still wouldn't classify this as a horror/comedy. The comedy used fits in well as it lightens the mood but can quickly shifts back in scare mode. It never takes away from the story and fits in well with the characters personalities.
The acting is pretty decent throughout. Joel Moore does a great job as the lead Ben. I have seen Joel in a few things, including in a creepy trailer for Adam Green's next film called Spiral before Hatchet started. I think he was a good choice for this role as his character seems to come natural to him. His buddy Marcus was played to perfection Deon Richmond who plays a great comic-sidekick. His interactions with Parry Shen, who plays the tour guide Shawn, are well done and very witty. Mercedes McNab and the lovely Joleigh Fioreavanti play the stuck up, wannabe actresses perfectly, and kudos to the fact they didn't seem to mind showing some skin.
One performance needs to be specially noted and it is Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley. Victor never really talks in the film but Kane Hodder still manages to do a wonderful job making the part memorable. His screams and grunts are menacing and his movements were powerful and barberic. I think he really helped make Victor Crowley into one of hell of a horror monster/villain that may have a place with some of the greatest in history.
Adam Green did a fantastic job directing. Despite the woods/swamp being a familiar setting for horror, he does some interesting shots that help it stand out. His writing and vision for Victor Crowley really helped make the character into one of horror's truly menacing killers. The special effects of John Carl Beuchler were perfect. The blood splatter had that old school feel and didnt have to rely on the modern computer effects of many modern horrors. The kills were some of the most original I have seen in a long time and are cause of some high-class gore. The music was fantastic and the creepy piano music heard in the trailer effectively accompanies some of the more tense moments in the film.
Whats left to say other than, go see this film! It is films like this that continue to push horror into the next generation but do so by not forgetting the roots it's predecessors laid. Hatchet is an old-school film with the new modern flair one can expect with a genre that continues to evolve. The story is great, the kills and FX are fantastic, and the villain is unlike many others in the horror genre. Hatchet is some of the most bloody fun a horror fanatic can ask for. And not to mention Victor Crowley is one of the most horrific and intimidating bad guys to come along in years. Just like Victor Crowley, true horror has returned and it's name is Hatchet!!!