Director: Adam Green
Cast: Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, Tony Todd
Extras: Hatchet II: Behind the Screams / Hatchet II: First Look / Meet the FX Team / Trailer / Teaser / TV Spot / Radio Spot / Production Audio Commentary Track / Cast Audio Commentary Track
A few years ago a horror movie came out that promised a throwback to the heyday of the gory, un-PC slasher. That film was obviously Adam Green’s 2007 Hatchet which touted the tagline, “Old School American Horror”. For the most part that tagline was well deserved. We met a new horror icon, the disfigured bayou bad boy Victor Crowley who just loves to come up with new ways to horrifically saw, rip and chop anyone who may accidentally end up in his swamps. The first film had some of the best practical gore effects I have ever seen. The only problem I had with it was the ridiculously annoying characters, the forced humor and the surprising and relatively low body count. The immature writing really took me out of the tone of the movie, but Crowley and his kills would bring me right back.
Just three years later, Green and Co. have seemingly taken all of my critiques and ground them up in a rusty, bloody meat grinder to make a fun, engaging and super gory sequel. It begins just as the first story ends with Marybeth escaping from Crowley and running to the nearest home and quickly finds that she is not welcome. So she finds Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd’s character from part 1) and recounts the events in the original Hatchet and through mutual interests the two decide to call all of the hunters from around the town to go on an expedition to hunt down Victor Crowley and kill him, if he is real that is. After telling the constituency what they plan, most of them get the hell out of there, leaving a handful to go on the mission. Once they get out there people begin to disappear, die and change the plan to suit their own needs. Who can they trust and will Crowley murder them before they turn on each other?
This story is a lot stronger than the very contrived original. The characters, though predictable, were also much more likable. The sense of humor and in-jokes where also more tolerable, my favorite being the open acknowledgements of Jason Vorhees (from the Friday the 13th series) and Leslie Vernon (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon) as if they were real people living in the Hatchet universe. That idea really got my horror geek juices flowing. We also get the full story of Victor, his father and the horrific events that lead up to their deaths as well as who the kids who played the tragic prank were. The writers leave the door open to many more sequels as Reverend Zombie explains that Crowley is a “repeater” which means that he constantly relives the day he was killed whether dead or alive at the time. So he is in a constant loop of death and destruction.
The most important part of Hatchet 2, though, is the kills. And shit, do they pile them on, easily doubling or tripling the body count of the first film. They also ramped up the style of the gore-gags. There are 8 foot long chainsaw double kills, a power sander redux, a variation of the “curb stomp” made famous by Ed Norton, and my favorite, Crowley gives new meaning to the old euphemism for a vagina “hatchet wound” as he does indeed chop a cunt in her cunt. These and tons of other gut-busting carnage will have you roaring with laughter and disbelief. Hatchet 2 is easily one of the goriest and most fun slasher flicks to come out in ages. MPI and Dark Sky’s blu-ray kick up the fun with not only a pristine picture and soundtrack, but the Behind the Screams extra is a great accompaniment to the film itself. It has side-by-side split screen comparisons of the storyboard and the dailies which were incredible to see as they come to life before your eyes. If you are a gore hound and love a good slasher, definitely pick this up.