Hatchet II Review

Hatchet II Movie Review from More Horror
By Mike Pickle, MoreHorror.com

Much like the rest of the Horror community; I've been anticipating this release for some time. Director Adam Green has shaken up the scene considerably since releasing Hatchet in 2006. This may be an unpopular opinion among many horror fans, but I believe the first Hatchet was a little overrated. It was a decent, cheesy little outing that benefited from an ingenious marketing campaign and was better than a lot of straight-to-video slashers flooding the shelves, but it suffered from some bad acting and did not break a whole lot of new ground. That being said; Green went on to prove that he is an excellent director that can function quite well outside Victor Crowley's world of throwback slasher fun. His film "Spiral" in 2007 was, in contrast to Hatchet, underrated, sophisticated and well crafted. He showcased more of the same with this year's superior stuck in the snow thriller “Frozen”.

This is when it became evident that Green didn't do the Hatchet films because that's all he could do. He did them because he loved Slasher Films and wanted to bring back some of the balls to the wall tongue in cheek greatness of the classics. He has finally done it with the lively and stimulating Hatchet II. It had everything I had wanted from the first film and more. It told Victor Crowley's back story better, there was more Tony Todd, a higher body count, over twice as much blood (55 gallons in the 1st and 136 gallons in this one), a better lead and a more talented cast altogether.

The film opens, effectively, at the exact moment Hatchet ended with the deformed and screaming Victor Crowley leaping into Marybeth's boat and attacking her. This time Marybeth is played by the exciting and talented Danielle Harris (smart move). She narrowly escapes and is picked up by an old one-eyed fisherman who lets her hide in his cabin. He kicks her out when he learns who she is because he knows of her family's connection to Crowley. She then seeks out Reverend Zombie played once again by Tony Todd in an expanded starring role (another smart move).

Marybeth expresses her need to return to the swamp to retrieve the bodies of her father and brother and get revenge on Crowley. Rev. Zombie reluctantly agrees to assemble a group of hunters to go back into the forbidden swamp to kill Crowley's murderous ghost. This seems mighty nice of him to risk his life and the lives of others to help her, but we soon see that he has other motives.

Hatchet II has just the right mixture of slow building body count and well told back story that features former Jason and Leatherface horror icon Kane Hodder in a surprisingly good acting performance as both Victor Crowley and his troubled father. The hunting party is assembled and they do not disappoint. Giving the film another fresh element; the group is not a bunch of dumb teenagers. They're mostly older hunters and local asses except for actress Alexis Peters who provides a hilariously disturbing sex scene.

Actors like AJ Bowen from ‘House of the Devil’ and ‘Signal’ make the ill-fated trip into the swamp an entertaining one. They provide plenty of comic relief and random interactions to carry the film along and familiarize the viewers with the many new faces before they die. Just enough new faces, in fact, to provide a nice variety for the kill a minute final act.

This brings me to the beauty of the kills. Some are variations of similar kills’ ‘slasher’ fans know and love, but others are so ridiculously over-the-top that they would cause even the most jaded horror fan to stand up and yell. Green pulled out all the stops with weapons like a belt sander and the longest chainsaw I have ever seen. Practical effects are capably used to achieve the most impractical murders and it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Mostly because it's evident that Green had just as much fun filming the deaths as you do watching them. This film has tons of brutal and inventive kills and dares you not to have a huge grin on your face while you watch them.

"Hatchet II" is not for everyone and is not to be taken seriously. It's there for a gory good time, to give slasher fans what they want and mix things you love about the sub-genre with things that you haven't quite seen before to shock, repulse and entertain you. If you don't like this type of relentless, unapologetic and almost comic brutality then this film is not for you. It doesn't try to be clever and laughs at itself in almost every scene. It was obviously filmed quickly, but not without plenty of heart.

Adam Green originally filmed it assuming it would go straight-to-video so he made it just as insane, absurd and farcical as he possibly could with gratuitous gore, nudity, comedy, and campfire storytelling to provide a shockingly fun horror ride. A ride with tons of blood and boobs without worrying about the pesky MPAA. Little did Green know that the production company would decide on a theatrical release and so started the battle to avoid the NC-17 rating. AMC theaters viewed the film and agreed to show it uncut and unrated. The first time this had been done since George Romero's Dawn of the Dead 32 years earlier. Unfortunately; word spread of the extremely graphic nature of the film and it was pulled after just a few days. This was upsetting, but it only adds to the legacy of Adam Green and the Hatchet franchise.

Despite all the problems; Green has managed to further intrigue the world of horror and has managed to make a sequel the way it should be made. Both complimenting and surpassing the original with more of what made the first good while improving on it and keeping the spirit of ridiculously fun slashers.

Hatchet 2 Movie Review by Mike Pickle for MoreHorror.com

Hatchet II Trailer

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