Yesterday Micah raved about Adam Green’s Hatchet II, while we’ve got two more to set you off on a blood-soaked weekend. While inside you’ll find Theo Scheresky’s (THEoDEAD) raving thoughts, David Harley is the first of the batch to find it ultimately disappointing. “While the death scenes are great, if nothing new, and the two laughs in the film are especially gut-busting (one on the racist side, and the other just bizarrely strange), Hatchet II carries few of the first film’s charms.” Click the title above for David’s thoughts, Theo’s can be found inside. Check out Hatchet II now in theaters everywhere.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was a bit late to join the Adam Green (Director-SPIRAL, FROZEN) movement. My first experience with the filmmaker was all the way back in 2007 with SPIRAL, a film that was less in the vein of horror and more of a thriller, but one that also evoked thoughts of early Alfred Hitchcock style storytelling. Needless to say that experience caused me to go back and check out the Director’s other works, and as a result, HATCHET. The throwback slasher film was hailed as quite possibly the next great slasher franchise. A film that could somehow rekindle the flame of a sub-genre that used to reign atop the mountain of dismembered campers and woebegone lost teens that made up horror, but then somehow lost its gusto back in the 90s. I wasn’t sure whether or not to believe the hype, because let’s face it if you are going to have the next FRIDAY THE 13TH on your hands you’ll need to do more than release one film featuring your would-be icon. And that is why going into the press screening for HATCHET 2 I was so excited (and nervous) to see what the filmmaker had brought to the table with the second round in his ubber violent slasher franchise. What I got was nothing short of awe inspiring, and a film that proves once and for all that Adam Green is in a league of his own right now.
HATCHET 2 begins right after the first ended with Marybeth (Originally portrayed by Tamara Feldman in the first film) returning to face-off with the homicidal maniac Victor Crowley (Reprised by fan favorite Kane Hodder). While the heroine has been replaced with the ever beautiful Danielle Harris, the change is not one that diehards of the original should take any type of issue with. In fact, and this is to no detriment to Feldman, but it feel as if the role were tailor made for Harris, who plays the character with more intensity and energy than the film’s original actress was able to emote. Again, this is no knock against Feldman, because she did a fine job with “HATCHET”, but when you place an actress like Harris who has made a life and career out of being tormented by slashers since the tender age of 11 you can’t do anything but marvel at an actress in her natural element.
Going in I was excited to see what Harris could bring to the table with the role, and more importantly the geek in me wanted to see Jamie Lloyd go toe-to-toe with Jason Voorhees himself. However, by the end of the film I was less interested in seeing a geek dream match, and more invested in the thought of why Harris hasn’t been allowed to do more leading roles. The chemistry between the character of Marybeth and Crowley is mostly comparable to that of a Michael Myers and a Laurie Strode, though I hate to draw such a close comparison. There is an innate connection between the two actors throughout the film that causes the viewer to look back and reminisce about the days when the heroine of a horror film was more than just a pretty face that looked good wet and half naked. That’s not to say that Harris doesn’t deliver in spades, on all fronts, but for an actress who has worked in the industry for so long it is refreshing to see her finally allowed to shine. And as for Hodder what else can be said. The man is no schmuck when it comes to killing off foolish kids who dare to stumble into places their not supposed to, and it is hard to imagine the character being played by anyone BUT Hodder.
That being said, Harris is not the only improvement to be found within HATCHET 2. Nearly everything about the film seems bigger, better, and yes, more gruesome. While many upheld that the first film was one of the most brutal slashers they had seen in years, and that might have been true in 2006, the second installment not only outdoes its predecessor, but it makes it look like an episode of the “TELETUBBIES” set in the swamp. There is blood, there is guts, there are people being choked to death by their own intestines until their heads explode, and not from the moment the film picks up does it let off the gas pedal. While sitting in the surprisingly packed theater I counted a total of 13 people exit during the movie. Only 5 returned. Because if you are reading this then you most certainly already know that Green’s HATCHET 2 is being released under an “UNRATED” rating, something that is not only peculiar, but downright absurd in this day and age unless you are standing in a video store. And while the film is indeed even more over the top than the first it seems to do something not many films of its ilk (of which there are few) do, and that is it doesn’t take you out of the film entirely. In fact, the blood ‘n guts only add to the experience and make the film even more fun to watch.
At its core HATCHET 2 is pure, unabashed, unrelenting entertainment. It is downright unfathomable how Green and Co. were able to get a film like this into theaters without being ostracized by censors, but I’m not complaining. What the makers of this film have done is single handedly delivered what is in my eyes a visceral treat for horror fans everywhere. A film that is as close to putting you back into the golden-age of horror as you will likely ever get. If you ever imagined what some of the first viewers of HALLOWEEN or FRIDAY THE 13TH felt when they were witnessing the birth of a multi-million dollar franchise before their very eyes then you will have your own chance to find out, but in order to do that you will have to go out and find HATCHET 2 to do so.
When all is done and viewed, HATCHET 2 is an achievement in more ways than just being a great horror film. With HATCHET 2 Green has delivered not one, but 2 of the absolute best horror films of the year (the other being FROZEN). Most filmmakers can say that they did this twice in their LIVES let alone in one year, but then again Green isn’t most filmmakers either. If you thought that MACHETE was a ride then let me tell you you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen this film. Not only is Victor Crowley the ONLY modern day slasher with icon potential, but he is also one of the most damned fun characters to watch on screen since Englund brought Freddy Krueger to life. Forget SAW 3D or PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2, if you must see one horror film in theaters this October then make sure it is HATCHET 2. You won’t regret one minute of it.