Hatchet

Directed By: Adam Green

Starring: Kane Hodder, Robert Englund, Tony Todd, Tamara Feldman, Joel Moore, Deon Richmond, Mercedes McNab, Parry Shen, Joel Murray, John Carl Buechler

Subgenre: Slasher

Synopsis: Mary Beth takes a swamp tour into the New Orleans bayous looking for her father and brother and finds more than she bargained for when the group runs into Victor Crowley.

Thoughts: Adam Green is a genre fanboy, and that’s not a bad thing.  Over the past 7 years, his presence in the horror scene has grown exponentially and it all started with this movie.  In 2006 I heard rumors about an old school slasher making the rounds that thumbed its nose at the MPAA with over the top kills and starred a handful of horror icons.  I knew this was a movie I needed to see.

The horror genre was being overrun with graphic movies like Hostel and Saw, and the term torture porn was being thrown at just about every movie that splashed a little blood on the screen.  While Hatchet’s brutal kills rival just about anything on screen, they are much different than something you would see in Hostel.  Sure, they are over the top, but they are done with a lot more humor and with nods to the 80s.  Seeing Victor Crowley rip someone in half tends to induce more groans and bouts of laughter, not a turning of the stomach and a painful wince.

The cast of Hatchet reads like a who’s who of 80s horror.  Kane Hodder, the most famous name to don Jason’s hockey mask plays the titular character and brings a much more kinetic killer to the screen than he did with Jason.  Crowley is in a constant state of motion, roaring and lumbering through the swamps.  Hodder was a perfect fit and really made the character unique.  Hodder also had the opportunity to play Thomas Crowley, the father of Victor in flashbacks.  It was pretty cook to see Hodder get to act without all the makeup for a change.

Robert Englund (Freddy Kreuger) and Tony Todd (Candyman) also play supporting roles in Hatchet.  Although neither get a lot of screen time, it was a blast seeing them.  I thought the group on the boat was great too.  There was a mix of victims, which was a nice departure from the usual gaggle of teenagers getting hunted down.  Joel Moore, who is a frequent collaborator with Adam Green was probably my least favorite character, but that has more to do with the character than it does with the actor.  He was just a little too whiny for my liking.

As I mentioned, Director Adam Green is a huge fan of the genre, and it shows here.  Hatchet is really an ode to the slasher genre, from the return to crazy kills to the inclusion of icons of the past.  When you look at Hatchet as Green’s debut (technically that was Coffee & Donuts, but this was his debut that had a budget), it is even more impressive.  His shots are framed well and he keeps the action moving.  Hatchet was a sign of things to come for Green, very good things.

While Hatchet is generally revered in the horror community, there are people that don’t like it.  I think that has more to do with the fact that it gets so much love and expectations are set pretty high.  There are also plenty of fans that don’t like to see humor injected into their horror.  Personally, I love Hatchet, both for what it is, and for what it represents.  Adam Green has been a revelation for a genre that I love.

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