After seeing clips from Robert Rodriguez and Tarantino’s Grind House at the Comic Con, I realized that a film made in 2006 can actually look like it was made back in the ‘70s, so it came as no surprise to me that Adam Green was able to pull off Hatchet. Hatchet is an authentic trip back to the ‘80s that will have you asking yourself “what the hell happened to our beloved genre over the past 20 years?”
Even though the screenplay feels very modern, the film is still a trip back in time from start to finish. Opening with a gruesome kill scene featuring slasher fav Robert Englund, the story begins when a group of friends hit up Mardi Gras in New Orleans to help Ben (Joel Moore) get over the fact that his long term relationship just came to an end. Ben doesn’t want to look at boobs, or drink a bunch of booze (it all reminds him of “her”), so instead he wants to go on a haunted swamp tour, which his friends recommended. His friend Marcus (Deon Richmond) goes to keep him company despite wanting to stay and party. They end up on a tour boat with a hack of a tour guide, two ditsy girls who want to be movie stars (and have STDs), a “fake” director, an old couple and a lone girl who doesn’t want to be talked to. While on the tour we hear about the legend of Victor Crowley and his father (both played by the infamous Kane Hodder), which ended in tragedy. The boat crashes leaving the group in the middle of the swamp with someone hacking them all to pieces… is it Victor?
Speaking of hacked to pieces, Hatchet is the single bloodiest film in years- the red sprays like a faucet across the screen. Spoiler: The film really kicks into high gear when Victor takes his hatchet and cuts a character in half from the shoulder down. He hacks and hacks at the body cutting through little by little until he pushes half the body off. Then he proceeds to rip a character’s face open by grabbing their top jaw and tearing it off.End Spoiler I stood up and cheered after being blown away by the amazingness that just graced the screen. The kills continue to hit us at full steam throughout really bringing back the essence of the ‘80s.
The only flaw in the movie is also its greatest asset. Usually when you see a horror film you like to see the scares come first with a little humor to lighten you up before the next jump, in Hatchet the jokes come first. Green’s film is more or less a horror/comedy; think Slither, only a different genre of horror. If you like a little sugar in your coffee but hate coffee in your sugar this might bug you quite a bit, but it worked like a charm for me. I guess I’m a sucker for a good joke no matter what type of film it’s in (the jokes are really, really good by the way).
The comedy aspect wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for the brilliant casting job. Joel Moore (a comedic genius in my mind) can single handedly make a film entertaining and he carried a big load in this film. Had they cast a “Dawnson’s Creek” hottie in the pic, the whole feature would have fallen apart.
Everything about the film was ‘80s, from the casting of Moore to the legendary back story. I’m not going to ruin it for you, but I really enjoyed the motives they gave for Victor’s ghostly presence. Seeing the film with an audience made me remember what it was like to be a kid in a movie theater watching the great slashers do their thing. I shed a tear for how bad films have become – Adam really knows how to entertain with his heart, instead of his pocket book. Hatchet is one of the best horror films this year, and probably the best slasher flick in decades. Many have tried, pretty much all have failed- Hatchet will in fact live on and become the next big slasher franchise. Remember the name Victor Crowley, you’ll be dressing up as him next Halloween.