Saturday, October 5, 2013

31 Days of Horror: Hatchet (2006)

Directed and written by Adam Green, Hatchet is a loving homage to the classic slasher films of the 70's and 80's. The story follows a group Louisiana who decide to participate in a haunted swamp tour instead of the usual Mardi Gras festivities. After the boat hits some rocks and sinks, the group is soon pursued the murderous Victor Crowley, the ghost of a backwoods mutant who kills anyone who enters his swamp. Can the group escape the swamp with their lives, or will they fall victim to the legend of Victor Crowley like so many others?

As I've already mentioned, Hatchet is a love letter to the slasher films of yesteryear. Adam Green manages to capture the spirit of those movies perfectly and shows why they were so entertaining and fun. Instead of just throwing us into the middle of the action and have us follow a group of one-dimensional characters who will mostly be fodder for uninspired deaths, Green & Co. take their time to introduce us to the characters, making them feel well-rounded enough that we actually want to see some of them survive and feel bad when they are killed brutally. Also, the death scenes are glorious. Each is interesting and unique, keeping the movie fresh. If I had to choose a favorite, I think I'd have to pick the second death in the movie, where Crowley grabs a woman and rips her head apart with his bare hands. His slasher forefathers would be proud.

Speaking of the classic slasher villains, the film also has a few nods to the past with three nice, little cameos. Victor Crowley, who is very reminiscent of Jason Voorhees, is actually played by Jason alumni Kane Hodder, who also plays Crowley's father in the flashback and does an excellent job. In the opening scene, we have Robert "Freddy Krueger" England as an alligator hunter and Tony "Candyman" Todd shows up later as a flamboyant New Orleans entertainer later in the film, both of them doing great and showing their acting chops and why they are so highly regarded among the horror fan-base.

Hatchet is an over-the-top gory slasher film that is just as entertaining as its predecessors from the 70's and 80's. Its a heart-felt homage that captures the spirit of those old films and shows why they worked so well and why most of us horror fans love them.

Verdict: See it is you love the slasher films of the 70's and 80's, over-the-top death scenes, and great practical effects. Skip it if you don't like gory death scenes and like more psychological, atmospheric horror films. 

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