Reviewed by: JimmyO
Joel David Moore
What's it about
When a group of tourist down in New Orleans decide to take a haunted river boat cruise, they end up face to face with a legend. They find a monster of a man out to take revenge on anyone that comes into Victor Crowley's woods.
Is it good movie?
Horror is a constantly changing genre. One moment remakes of Japanese ghost stories are hip and next thing you know, torture is the way to go. I for one, love horror movies. Almost every sub-genre has a few roses. But I especially love slasher flicks like Friday the 13th and it’s countless sequels. I also really appreciate films like Happy Birthday to Me. This is a sub-genre I hold near and dear to my heart. So when a movie promises to be “old school American horror”, I hope that it is. Hatchet promised just that, a film made with that kind of fervor and over-the-top charm. I’m talking blood, boobs and a cool killer with either a mask, or some icky skin issue. Director Adam Green must have been paying attention, because his madman, Victor Crowley, is a bloody good addition to all those masters of massacre.
This is what Roger Ebert would call a “dead teenager” movie. A bunch of young adults decide to take a late night spook ride in the Louisiana swamps. There is Ben (Joel David Moore) and his buddy Marcus (Deon Richmond) who decide to do the ghost tour instead of partying at Mardi Gras (really???). Shapiro (Joel Murray) is a guy with a camera who claims to be shooting a Girl’s Gone Wild type video. His girls gone wild include Misty and Jenna (Mercedes McNab and Joleigh Fioreavanti). Rounding out the cast, you have Mr. and Mrs. Permatteo (Richard Riehle and Patrika Darbo) and a tour guide named Shawn (Parry Shen). And you can’t forget the girl who knows all about the evil in them swamps, Marybeth (Tamara Feldman) and of course, the evil incarnate himself, Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). You put all these folk together and have yourself a bloody old time.
While Hatchet didn’t offer too many unique elements, it did inject a fearsome charm with it’s humor and horror. Yep, the characters often do dumb things. Don’t scream really loud when you know you are being chased. Don’t just assume the killer is dead because of a weak sauce attack on your part. Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! But that’s the point. Horror movies like this are designed to be fun. The filmmakers want you to be screaming at the screen even though nobody can hear you. And seriously, when was the last time you were chased by some maniac with a power tool? I’m guessing a lot of people would do something stupid. Mr. Green gleefully celebrates this type of horror filled fantasy with some nasty kills (pop top anyone) and Kane Hodder once again proving why he is one badass mutherf*cker. If you saw this dude running at you with a hatchet, I’m guessing more than a few of you would shite yourselves.
This is a spirited, funny and often times scary flick that isn’t trying to make you feel sick or bad. And the bonus here is that the performances are a whole lot of fun. I always love Mercedes McNab, she is damn funny and absolutely gorgeous. And Joel Moore is really likeable as the leading man that is much geekier than your typical horror leading man. And I also thought Tamara was terrific, for the girl who is ultra serious while all the others are yucking it up, she was right on-target. Need I mention some cool cameos with Tony Todd, Robert Englund, Joshua Leonard and I have to say how great Richard Riehle is. This guy rules. Now if you are looking for an original, thought provoking horror flick, you may find this a dull blade. But, if you want a scary movie that proudly wears the slasher tradition on it’s severed limbs, this is the movie for you.
Video / Audio
Video: This 1.78:1 widescreen presentation looks great, splattered body parts and all.
Audio: The Dolby Surround 5.1 and the Dolby Surround 2.0 were both terrific. Victor Crowley’s creepy calling out to his daddy was extra spooky with Dolby.
All slasher flicks should have it this good when it comes to Special Features… okay, maybe not all. But for starters, I think I love Adam Green. This guy has a whole lot of spirit and he adds an almost perfect Commentary track with Cinematographer Will Barratt and a handful of actors including, Tamara Feldman, Deon Richmond and Joel David Moore. I found this extremely entertaining. The energy and the love that went into this project is clear and its nice to hear people still excited about their film.
If you are looking for a terrific documentary on a horror film, you can’t do much better than The Making of Hatchet (39:16) which is a fun a lively, albeit talking head type, making of feature. I’ll say it again, Mr. Green’s energy and love for the genre is wonderful. Not too long and not too short. And Producer Sarah Elbert is just plain cute. Adam and her remind me a little bit of a young John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Keep up the good work guys.
Meeting Victor Crowley (9:19) is a look at the making of the man/beast. You want to see how to introduce a monster to the cast in a movie? This is the way to do it. And it’s Kane Hodder… so that’s all good.
And of course, you’ve gotta have Guts & Gore (10:58) which is exactly what it sounds like. A fun little feature about all the gore effects. So dig in.
Anatomy of a Kill (6:13) is another look at exactly what you want in this flick… more gore. It is a pretty in depth look at what may be the most famous kill in the film. The pop top is a pretty damn inventive kill, all practical effects, no CG.
Who knew there would be a touching moment here? In A Twisted Tale (8:27) we hear the story of how Adam and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister became friends. Seriously, this is pretty cool. I want to hear more stories like this. Good stuff.
And in case you want to see Joel David Moore vomit (he really does it for the film), then check out the Gag Reel (3:34). This is fun, but my God man… did we really need to see that?
And finally, Anchor Bay offers us a look at some other flicks that you can check out. The Trailers include “Spiral”, “Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon”, a little shout out to Anchor Bay itself and finally “Karas: The Revelation”.
Hatchet is loaded with humor and horror and gives us another great movie maniac that slashes and rips off limbs. Yeah, it’s sorta predictable and it really doesn’t offer much new to the genre, but fun times are still had. Adam Green really knows his stuff as he throws in everything that he can to make a movie that harkens back to the Eighties. Blood, boobs and a surprising level of humor that balances everything out. It’s also nice to see a few actors with talent who are in on the joke, but still believable enough when ole’ Victor Crowley comes calling. And speaking of Victor calling… “Daaaaaddddyyyyyy!”… when you hear his inhuman voice asking for daddy, the eeriness vibe goes up. Also look for the Friday the 13th inspired ending. Hatchet is a bloody good time and the “Unrated Director’s Cut” adds a nice touch of gruesome goodness.