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Hatchet (UR)
DVD disk
Jan 1, 2008 By: Mathew Plale
Hatchet (UR) order
Director:
Adam Green

Actors:
Kane Hodder
Joel David Moore
Tamara Feldman

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A group of tourists hop aboard a tour through the swamps of New Orleans, leading to their discovery of outcast/murderer Victor Crowley (Hodder).
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Mr. Crowley, what went wrong in your head? A hatchet, according to legend/campfire lore. In the backwards swamp of New Orleans (just a $40 tour from Bourbon Street), Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), with all the disfigurements of a prime horror icon, was kept sheltered in a one-room shack by his father (also Hodder).

And as with similar movies, Hatchet puts a band of horror cutouts in the way of the aged bogeyman, inevitably leaving them impaled, hacked, or worst-case scenario, maimed. Most reviews have been unfair to virtual-newcomer Adam Green’s Tribeca Film Festival Midnight feature, noting only the flat characters and excess gore.

But there’s a hidden freshness (not to be confused with originality) in Hatchet—it’s part parody/part homage (think Scream with more MPAA run-ins), part Friday the 13th/part Mardi Gras, and it all works. The tit-shots are laughably (read: intentionally) obligatory, the head-splitting as frequent as our side-splitting. Green’s inspiration seems to equally stem from the works of Sean S. Cunningham, Wes Craven, and Joe Francis.

And Green has studied the trademarks of all three, lifting them for his somehow smart screenplay. But the self-proclaimed “old school American horror” is in peak for the over-the-top kills courtesy of Crowley’s toolshed of weaponry, any of which could be packaged with the eventual Sideshow Collectibles figure—perhaps with another great hor-com psychopath from 2007, Leslie Vernon.

Earlier this year, I attended a 24-hour horror marathon, where most features (minor slasher classic Pieces, among others) were met with more smirks than shrieks. The balance in Hatchet—to laugh with and not at—is just what the slice-and-dice needed.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Will Barratt, and Actors Tamara Feldman, Joel David Moore, and Deon Richmond: Green and Barratt kick it off, with the stars joining in throughout, sharing production tales, MPAA-knocks, and beers. A definite listen.

The Making of…(39:16): This lengthy feature offers a comprehensive look at the evolution of a could-be horror classic. Crew members dissect the script and pre-production stages (including the Internet’s role in popularity), while production and post are also looked at via BTS footage and interviews. The plethora of production stories and facts make this a must-watch for fans.

Meeting Victor Crowley (9:24) takes a look at the villain of Hatchet, including Kane Hodder’s motivation for the cast (read: on-set pranks).

Guts & Gore (10:57) goes into the gruesome effects/kills of the movie, from belt sander to hatchet and beyond.

Anatomy of a Kill (6:21) takes a look at the coolest kill in Hatchet, with a visual demonstration courtesy of Britney Spears and Gene Simmons.

A Twisted Tale (8:32) chronicles director Adam Green’s admiration for Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. Strange yet true.

A Gag Reel (3:43) and Trailer round out the disc.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Hatchet, as many fans have concluded, is a nice return to the horror genre. It's also a very funny movie, thanks to director Green's cheesy/mildly brilliant script. Stacked with the features, this DVD is a must-own for horror buffs in on the joke.
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