Horror fans were irate when they learned that Kane Hodder had been replaced as Jason Voorhees in New Line Cinema’s Freddy vs. Jason (2003). Independent filmmaker Adam Green‘s response was to create his own throwback slasher and cast Hodder as the film’s iconic villain. Hatchet (2006) introduced Hodder’s Victor Crowley, the bayou-butcher who hacks up a group of tourists during a New Orleans haunted swamp tour. It hit the slasher sweet-spot, mixing innocent humor with incredibly well done over-the-top special effects. While Hatchet has since become an iconic franchise, none of the sequels have been able to recreate the magic of the first film. The latest, Victor Crowley, is easily the worst of the bunch.
Taking place a decade after the events in Hatchet, lone-survivor Andrew Yong (Parry Shen) has become a celebrity and best-selling author. The film, written and directed by Green, painstakingly follows Yong as he appears on a morning talk show, signs books for fans, and takes off on a private jet to return to the location of the infamous murders. You see, Yong has been offered a hilarious great sum of money to do an on-location interview…
Meanwhile, a film crew are working on their own film about the murders and are planning to shoot a trailer to show financiers. While location scouting, they perform the same voodoo curse that gave birth to Victor Crowley, which causes the plane to fall out of the sky and the bayou-butcher to return.
While Hatchet cruised along with frantic energy, Victor Crowley is painfully slow, with each and every pointless scene feeling as excruciating as a visit to the dentist. Green somehow hits rock bottom with Victor Crowley, digressing the franchise from a wickedly fun and inspired slasher to a Troma-esque dick joke. That’s not hyperbole as there’s literally a moment where a “fan” places his penis on a table and asks Yong to sign it (albeit, they don’t actually show it). A complete deviation from the spirit of the first Hatchet (imagine if the next Friday the 13th was all dick and fart jokes), most of the comedy is insufferable and juvenile.
Another crime is the underwhelming special effects that look astoundingly cheap, which may or may not have been because of Green’s decision to hang on every shot for way too long. And much like the film’s tone, the death sequences are another insult to Hatchet, shifting from dead-pan serious to goofy winks that are trying way too hard to be funny. In fact, even the finale is bogged down by a continual attempt at humor in which Green force-feeds jokes into a sequence where Crowley stands around waiting for something to happen.
Honestly, it’s a bit startling to see the digression from Hatchet to Victor Crowley. I think it’s fair to call this one of the worst sequels in a long time, if not one of the most disappointing. Victor Crowley should have stayed dead.