Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Movie Review: Hatchet

Thanks to the horror movie gods, Adam Green's sick mind was unleashed upon the world. His 2006 film Hatchet, which he wrote, directed, and produced was a welcome change to the slasher film genre that at the time was severely lacking something. Balls. This film helped introduce new fans to some good old fashion gory fun and give us older fans that which we desperately desired in a horror flick. It was so gory indeed that the MPAA slapped it with a NC-17 rating. Thanks to some nifty editing by Green and co. it was dropped to R. It's also quite interesting to note that it was filmed on location in Louisiana and one of the last films to do so before hurricane Katrina. Though the film didn't make much during it's very limited theater run, it's become a cult hit and the DVD has grossed over six million dollars. There are also some funny little guest appearances from Tony Todd and Robert Englund to add to the old school flavor presented here.

                             Victor uses his favorite tool on director Adam Green.

Hatchet starts off with Sampson (Robert Englund) and his dopey son Ainsley fishing for gator. There is some funny back and forth dialogue from them before our main antagonist Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) shows up to set things straight. We learn later in the film that Victor was accidentally hit in the face with a hatchet by his father in an effort to release him from a burning house. Presumed dead, he was left in the swamps to terrify and terrorize any who cross his path. The ridiculously giant and mutated hillbilly Victor tears them literally limb from limb in some of the best gore in an opening horror movie sequence I've ever seen.The film cuts to Joel David Moore of Avatar fame as Ben, the nerdy dork trying to get over his girlfriend at Mardi Gras. That's a good place to get over the cheating ex right? He decides to ditch the group and go on a haunted boat tour. Maybe not such a good idea.  Along for the ride is the token black guy and comedy relief buddy Marcus (Deon Richmond). Tony Todd briefly shows up as the decked out and overacting Reverend Zombie. He was the first choice of the duo to take them on a tour but he is out of business and directs them the hopelessly inept tour guide Shawn. They soon find themselves off on the haunted tour much to the annoyance of Marcus. Along for the ride are two ditzy porn stars Misty and Jenna with their scummy director Shapiro. We then get the amusing Mr. and Mrs. Permatteo as the know it all straight laced out of towners. We then meet the mysterious, tough, and quiet female lead Marybeth played by the beautiful Tamara Feldman who's only along to look for her lost father and brother (the now very deceased Sampson and Ainsley). The tour soon goes awry with the boat sinking and now the group is at the mercy of the bloodthirsty Victor Crowley. In the tried and true slasher formula the group is slowly picked off one by one in some of the most awesome and bloody death scenes ever filmed. You'll have to watch the rest of the film to witness a fun and gore filled ride, but please don't take it too seriously. Just have a good time with it over some booze with friends.

                                   They've witnessed a death you must see!

The acting is pretty good for a slasher flick and nothing much to complain about here. No need to have particularly spectacular acting in this genre of horror movie though. Kane of course did what he does best in the homicidal maniac role and gives off great presence as Crowley. He also plays the father of the younger version of Victor pretty well with what little time he's on screen. Joel David Moore plays the role perfectly of the geeky and nice guy, but he gets down and dirty when he needs to. I found myself laughing quite a bit at Deon Richmond's dialogue and facial expressions, but he usually brings the laughs to any role. Tamara Feldman brings the screams and toughness to her role. She's just not a pretty face here. I was surprised at Richard Riehle in his role as Mr. Permatteo. His veteran acting brings laughs and he plays the straight guy perfectly. Just think Office Space without the broken neck. Well in this movie I'm sure that's all he wishes he got. Everyone else is fine but pretty interchangeable in my opinion.

                      Crowley gets up in Ben's face here for some lip action.

The special effects are top notch for these kills. John Carl Buechler really pulls out all of the stops for this one and we see some brutal deaths thanks to him. We really get some gushers here. A particularly memorable death is Mrs. Permatteo who gets her face ripped in half. That's got to hurt right? That's Kane again for you though. Using his bare hands in his kills seems to be a trademark. There's also a nice scene where one of the porn stars gets a belt sander to the face and mouth. Clean that dirty mouth out woman. I don't think I've quite seen something like that in a while and it's about time! The makeup for Victor is pretty decent but nothing special. I've heard some people really complain about it, but I really didn't see anything too bad about it. I've seen worse and still been thoroughly entertained.

                                         Open up wide for Dr. Crowley!

The film works well for a couple of reasons. It doesn't take itself too seriously and it keeps the formula simple. Blood, tits, and a homicidal maniac running around the woods murdering people. Add the fact that it's executed quite well and we have a very memorable and fun film. More films should take a page from this film. The films running time is another plus as it clocks in at a brisk 84 minutes. I recommend all go out and buy or rent this film immediately!

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