Movie Reviews 47 – Hatchet I and II

Hatchet (2006)
I’d heard a few good things about this movie before but was not really convinced that something new could come out of a movie with that simplistic a title and even less novel premise. But this movie is greater than the sum of its parts. And I don’t mean body parts either as this is not just a gore flick although there is plenty of that too. It treads the fine line between suspense and comedy. An illegal nighttime swampy river boat ride in New Orleans ends up with the boat riders left on an unknown shore when the boat hits a rock. The problem is that the boat is in a area that is supposed to be restricted, and the real reason the restriction is in place is because the area is the supposed stomping grounds of one Victor Crowley. Legend says that as a Crowley was born a deformed youngster whose mother died at birth. Raised in seclusion by his father, their shack was set ablaze by some kids on a Halloween night. With the young Victor stuck inside the burning shack, the father used a hatchet to try to open the front door. Unfortunately the kid was pressed up against the door trying to get out and received the hatchet blow right in the face. Now, years later, the stranded riders, a melee of partying kids, an older couple and a pornographer with two budding ‘starlets’ have to try to make their way to civilization while Victor Crowley prowls the swamp. A great ‘fun’ horror movie the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite a while. The extras on the DVD are worth a watch as we see how this film came about after a life long project for writer director Adam Green. Plenty of horror alumni including Kane Hodder playing both Victor and his dad, as well as cameos by Robert Englund and Tony Todd.

Hatchet II (2010)
The first few minutes were extremely promising as it not only pick up right where the last movie left off, but promises that there was much more to the story to begin with. But it isn’t long before that promise is shattered and Hatchet II becomes a rote, paint by the numbers sequel that is all gore, silly comedy and little story. It seems that all the positive aspects that made Hatchet so fun and thrilling were simply forgotten here and I can only assume that this was a quick cash in. At least that the way it turned out. The story is all about the ‘kids’ who initiated the sequence of events that led to young Victor Crowley getting that hatchet job on his face those many years ago. It seems that he wants revenge and conveniently enough, a posse with those same guys are now out to get Victor after his attacks that took place in the first movie. Unfortunately the whole posse is more like drunken goofy guys and we don’t really get anything more than lame comedy and unfulfilling scares. Enjoy the first few minutes and then settle for a run of the mill piece that I wish was subjected to a little hatchet job I’d like to do myself.

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