Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review: Hatchet II

Adam Green again writes and directs the sequel to the underground cult hit 'Hatchet'. Kane Hodder reprises his role as Crowley, as does Tony Todd as Reverend Zombie. Danielle Harris takes over the role of Marybeth and hell; we even get Perry Shen back as Shawn's twin brother. The movie was released unrated in U.S. theaters briefly before AMC pulled it due to complaints. That act alone gets my seal of approval. This time we have double the budget, twice as much blood, and you guessed it, twice as many kills.

                               Reverend Zombie working the 'ol charm.

*Some Spoilers Below*

The sequel picks up right where the last film ended. The deranged and disfigured Victor Crowley has Marybeth in his clutches ready for the kill. She quickly jams her thumb in his eye and he releases her in agony. She then swims away only to be picked up by a local fisherman named Jack Cracker. Fitting I suppose. He takes her to the safety of his shack to tend to her. But, when he realizes who Marybeth and her family are, she is quickly kicked out and sent on her way back to New Orleans with no explanation. She is only briefly told to ask Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) about her family's past. The Reverend hesitantly tells Marybeth about her family's past, as well as more of Victors. Apparently her father was part of the group of three children that started the fire which helped kill Crowley, as you see in flashbacks from the first film. With some obvious ulterior motives at hand, Zombie agrees to help her go back to the swamp and retrieve her family's body along with his lost boat. Of course not without some backup and heavy firepower. We do need more death you see. The call goes out to the local fisherman for a five hundred dollar reward for their help that night and five thousand for the head of the fabled Victor Crowley. Few brave souls take the challenge, but those who do will be in for a real surprise courtesy of a vindictive hatchet wielding madman named Victor Crowley. Pretty much the same movie as the first film. People in a swamp getting hacked up by Victor. Not a bad thing though.

                                    A face only a mother could love?

The acting is pretty bad all around here minus Tony Todd and Danielle Harris, and even they are hamming it up most of the time. What did I expect though? Todd of course is a veteran of horror movies and most well known for "Candyman' and the 'Final Destination' series. His deep voice an imposing stature make him an ominous figure in almost any horror movie, but it just seems like he was phoning it in most of the time. Not good, but just alright. Now Harris was great in the 'Halloween' series and remakes, but some of her lines and acting were just atrocious. Again, meh (and yes, I hate this quasi word too!). It's probably as much to do with the fairly awful script as it is the actors. Well, wait a minute though. I must say that the character of Layton played very well by AJ Bowen is the actor with the most charisma. He is fairly well developed and likeable, as well as being able to actual not overact in his scenes. I’m looking at you Todd and Harris! I wish they would have done more with the Layton character. Look out for him in the future. Everyone else is generic. The token black guy, the hot chick, and the tough guy. If it's not broke, don't fix it I suppose.

                      Victor is a ready for some cuttin' action. Big enough for ya?

The blood flows frequently and by the buckets in this second installment. It is reported that 136 gallons of fake blood were used for Hatchet II. That's more than double than the original installment. There are some original and interesting kills, but I was pretty underwhelmed by most of the special effects. They just didn't look as good as the original and they had double the budget. What went wrong? One ridiculously long chainsaw and a double cut in half scene sticks out. Also, a funny sex scene with a hatchet to the vaginal area stay with you. The Hatchet is used much more in this installment, and Crowley even brings back the much beloved belt sander for some gruesome work. I like it!

                     Marybeth seems a bit mad here and wants a piece of Victor.

Overall I was a little disappointed with this sequel. Maybe I was expecting too much, or maybe I was just sober. It seemed a little rushed and the actors uninspired. A weak script and so-so special effects in certain places really do a disservice to the film. We do get some more back story about Crowley, but it actually seemed to detract from the mythos and wasn't really necessary in my opinion. According to Adam Green, there are supposed to be two more installments in the series. Just two more? Tisk tisk. Di you learn nothing from Friday the 13th, or the Saw series? I just hope that those sequels rise to a somewhat higher level of writing and originality than this one. I would say at least check it out if you have an hour and half to kill and love slasher flick as much as I do. 2 1/2 skulls out of 5 friends.

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