DVD Review: Hatchet (Unrated Director's Cut)
By Jeff Swindoll Dec 20, 2007, 21:33 GMT
When a group of tourists on a New Orleans haunted swamp tour find themselves stranded in the wilderness, their evening of fun and spooks turns into a horrific nightmare. ...more
“It’s not a remake, its’ not a sequel, and it’s not based on a Japanese one.”
A legend from the swamps of Louisiana springs to life. He’s got a hatchet and he’s not afraid to use it. Although you really won’t want it used on you. This throwback to “old school horror” will have you laughing one minute and cringing at the gore the next.
A group of buddies have gone to Mardi Gras in Naw’Lins (or New Orleans if you prefer). Ben (Joel David Moore) is being a bit of a sad sack and doesn’t seem to notice that there are tons of babes willing to show you their boobs in exchange for some cheap plastic beads. He’s more interested in going on a haunted swamp cruise that some pals told him about.
His friend Marcus (Deon Richmond) doesn’t really want to leave the party but feels obligated to go with his friend. They go to see Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd), but he’s not doing his tour because some stinking tourist sued him. They wander down the street and come across Shawn (Parry Shen), an oriental fellow affecting a Naw’Lins accent very badly, who is actually running the only tour. So the two go on the tour along with a group of other tourists.
These include older couple, Mr. (Richard Riehle) and Mrs. (Patricka Darbo) Permatteo. Shapiro (Joel Murray) is a guy with a video camera and two models, Jenna (Joleigh Fiorevanti) and Misty (Mercedes McNab). The models bicker constantly but when Shapiro fires up the camera they strip off and slobber all over each other. Marybeth (Tamara Feldman) is also on the tour and appears to be a quite local but she has reasons of her own for being on the cruise.
Shawn is warned to stay out of the swamp, but the almighty dollar is on his mind and not his or the cruisers safety. He tells the boatload the legend of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), a deformed youth who was accidentally killed with a hatchet. It turns out that the reason you want to stay out of the swamp is that Victor is still about and not a very happy camper and the gore is gonna fly!
Hatchet is billed as a throwback to old school American horror and appears to live up to those claims. Although Rob Zombie’s Halloween had a bigger budget and more star power, I’d have to give Hatchet a much better reaction on my “like-a-meter.”
The characters are archetypes, as is the monster, but it is a good time for those that remember the ocean of Freddy, Jason, and Michael imitators that used to grace the video shelves.
Two actors who appeared as the original bogeymen, Robert Englund and Kane Hodder, even show up in roles (Tony Todd even pops up and the original Candyman is an excellent film – the sequels not so much – which will also sound familiar to old school American horror aficionados).
There are some sour notes since I really didn’t like the ending at all (the movie just stops – I even had to rewind the DVD just to make sure that my player didn’t have a hiccup) but all in all I enjoyed the film. Maybe it also had to do with the filmmakers being very likeable folks (Adam Green had me when he told the story of how he didn’t like Hollywood).
The film isn’t perfect but it was a nostalgic trip down the lane of the video store. This unrated, director’s appears to add tons of gore (didn’t see the R-rated version so I assume so) and much more extras.
Hatchet is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The theatrical cut is available separately. Special features include a commentary by director Adam Green, cinematographer Will Barrett, and actors Tamara Feldman, Joel Moore, and Deon Richmond.
Next is the delightful 39 minute “Making of Hatchet” which again shows that horror filmmakers have a great time on the set. The 9 minute “Meeting Victor Crowley” examines the monster. The 10 minute “Guts and Gore” looks at the gruesome makeup effects. The 6 minute “Anatomy of a Kill” takes a closer look at the “pop top” kill in the film.
The 8 minute “Twisted Tale” looks at Green’s meeting his idol Dee “Twisted Sister” Snider and the influence that he had (and continues to have) on his filmmaking career. Finally there’s a 3 minute gag reel.
It wasn’t torture porn, but it was a good time (no actors were harmed in the making of this film – although Deon did get wet which he didn’t like). I liked it, but still didn’t like the ending but that was a minor point.
Green talks up a Hatchet 2 but I’m not sure if he’s joking or serious. I hope that he’s serious and hope to see more of this likeable fellow (Green that is, Crowley I wouldn’t want to meet!).