Entries Comments

Movie Review: Hatchet

Hatchet (Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2007)
Written and directed Adam Green

Here we have the most talked about film of 2007 that no one got much of a chance to see in theaters. After being raved about over the past year from various test and film festival screenings, Hatchet was dumped into about 15 cities nationwide at the end of the summer, and just as quickly pulled out of said theaters. Seriously, if you have ever seen the preview to this film, you have seen more critical blurbs than any awards-friendly film in the history of trailers. Granted they’re accredited to the likes of Harry Knowles and Bloody-Disgusting, but semantics, people.

Now that it’s been released on DVD, everyone can finally see what many are calling the best “Slasher” film to come out in eons, or in some cases, “Slasher” is replaced with “Horror.” Whoa Nelly!!!

For any of you fine specimens that have been reading my reviews, you know that Sam Loomis loves a good horror film as much as he likes to write in the third person about himself. The one problem with a lot of horror fanatics is that when a decent one pops up amidst a slew of wretched imposters, sometimes the over-praising dial gets turned up to Nigel’s fabled 12th setting (If you don’t understand that reference, for the love of God quit reading this and go watch Spinal Tap immediately!).

Now, that you’ve finished watching one of the greatest comedies of all time, let’s get back to the film in question, shall we?

The Doc is not saying that Hatchet is a bad film, or even a mediocre one for that matter. Hatchet is pretty damn good after all the blood has been spilled and the gag reflexes have been taken aback for the time being. It’s fun, it’s gory in a good way, it’s fairly suspenseful, etc. Hatchet is all the things you want out of a fun horror romp.

But let’s not get too carried away. There’s very little you haven’t seen before; this is not Halloween, The Exorcist, Dawn of the Dead, or hell, even Scream. However, the nostalgic kick you get while watching this terror opus is, in the end, what gives it most of its charm. This is good, because it’s hard to find charm in a mythological sized man-beast ripping people apart.

Hatchet tells the tale of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), a mutated child living in the swamps of New Orleans, who died at a young age when some mean kids’ Halloween prank went a little too far and burnt his house down.

In present day, as legend has it, Crowley haunts the swamps and will kill any humans who dare enter. Said humans come in the form of a group of various stereotypes stuck on a “Haunted Swamps Tour.” When the boat starts to sink, they have no choice but to go to land and wait for help. However, unfortunately for them, the alligators are the least of their worries.

First off, Victor Crowley is a pretty badass creation. To say the kills are inventive is all relative, but I have never seen such force used in any horror film I can remember seeing recently. This dude literally rips these people apart, and occasionally to go along with the title, uses a hatchet to cut off every body part he can manage to get to. Don’t worry guys. Some parts are apparently sacred enough for even Victor Crowley.

The film is brutal and gory, but not in the same seriously sick way that movies like Hostel Part II and Saw IV have displayed. Much like the Evil Dead movies, this movie has a great sense of humor about itself causing the blood factor to result in more laughs than chills.

The real find in this film is the writer and director, Adam Green. This is a guy, much like we witnessed with Sam Raimi during the Evil Dead days, that probably has a lot to offer genre films. And hopefully, like Raimi, Jackson, etc., he is given this chance. There is actually a preview to his next film on the DVD, Spiral, that looks downright demented and fun. Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.

Green knows what kind of film he is making, and realizes that if he takes himself too seriously here he’s lost us. The script is ingested with a lot of fun dialogue; my favorite bit involves a few in the group trying to figure out whether or not they should check out a noise they hear in the bushes: “What if someone needs help?” (Great Dramatic Pause) “We’ll apologize later.”

Green also did a good job in finding the right type of actors to pull of these ridiculously broad-stroked stereotypes. I especially enjoyed Mercedes McNabb (Buffy) as the ditzy blonde; I also enjoyed seeing her perfect set of yams (Sorry, dude thing, couldn’t resist.).

As for the ending, what a thing of beauty. I will not give it away except to say there is no way in the world you will figure out the outcome, and I’m not talking about a twist. I’m talking about a sequence of events that turns the rules of the slasher film up on its ass, and the Doc was a happier man for it.

This is a fine debut from a filmmaker that, I believe, will be making us happy he got to make this in a few years. This is a great calling card for any producers out there willing to take a chance on a newbie to the fold. Hatchet might not be the best film of 2007; I’m not even sure how good of a film it really is, depending on your standards, but I’ll be damned if I can think of too many films this year that were more entertaining. And there is nothing wrong with that.


Sam Loomis

Write a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.