One of the most hotly anticipated horror films of 2007, "Hatchet" gained a reputation as an ultimate crowd pleaser during its long festival run. The reason for the crowd pleasing at horror fests was simple: gore. Lots of it.
"Hatchet" boasts the best death scenes of a horror movie since the slasher 1980s. Truth is, make-up effects have actually come a long way since then, and the best technology is on display here (thankfully without any trace of CGI) to deliver some of the finest killings a slasher movie has ever boasted. We've also got Kane Hodder, the best-known actor to play Jason (although he played the role in some of the worst "Friday the 13th" movies) as another mongoloid killer character. With a sense of humor to boot, the movie had all the elements to make crowds cheer at horror fests.
But it was released to limited theaters in a year that saw "28 Weeks Later," "Hostel Part II" and even direct-to-DVD titles like "Flight of the Living Dead" and "Wrong Turn Part II." "Hatchet" had plenty of competition in 2007 and may have gotten lost in the shuffle somewhat. I'd imagine it will have a longer life on DVD and possibly spawn a sequel or two.
The film opens with a cameo by Robert Englund playing a redneck in the bayou who is quickly dispatched by the film's mutant villain, Victor Crowley (Hodder), a character clearly fashioned after Jason and the burned killer in "The Burning." After an anthemic opening titles sequence featuring Marilyn Manson's "This Is the New S--t" pumping from the soundtrack, we are introduced to our hero, a nerdy guy (Moore) who is sick of partying with friends in Mardis Gras-powered New Orleans because he's depressed over breaking up with his girlfriend.
He and another buddy decide to blow off Mardis Gras to go on a boat tour of the town's haunted swamp. When they and the other tour goers are stranded, they are left to fend for themselves against Crowley, who goes ballistic with the usual slasher weaponry.
Again, the special effects are awesome. The dialogue and plot leave much to be desired. Once the action starts about half-way through the movie, the film doesn't let up and is all-in-all a fun watch. There's a very brief cameo from Tony Todd as well.
The film is politically incorrect, with some girls-gone-wild-style mardi gras nudity thrown in to remind us of the film's roots. Green certainly knows how to deliver campy horror. Hopefully "Hatchet 2" will deliver more in the story department.