Hatchet II picks up right where the original Hatchet ends, as the quiet but hot-tempered Marybeth (Danielle Harris, Halloween) barely escapes from the clutches of the mysterious Crowley ( Crowley (Kane Hodder, Friday The 13th), who has already has murdered all of Marybeth's friends and other vacationers in the New Orleans' swamp country. Marybeth recruits a team of hired guns and returns to the bayou to exact her revenge, but quickly discovers that even with an army of hunters at her side, the murderous fury of Crowley cannot be contained. Ultimately, it will be up to Marybeth alone to defeat the seemingly indestructible Crowley, but not before learning the truth about a twisted secret he shares with her own family! Filled with "buckets of giddily over-the-top blood 'n' guts" (The Hollywood Reporter), not to mention a "funky, frisky sense of humor" (The Onion AV Club), the unrated Hatchet II serves up a ferocious and furious dose of splatterific entertainment--just like in old days!
There's probably no better visceral creep-out than a close-up eye gouging (just ask Luis Buñuel). Director Adam Green learned this well by using the old thumb-in-socket shot as the climax of his 2006 cult hit Hatchet
, and he repeats it as the opener of Hatchet II
. This micro-budget sequel picks up just as the original ends, with the aforementioned eye still belonging to the deformed swamp monster Victor Crowley (again played by ace stuntman and Friday the 13th
alumni Kane Hodder). The thumb belongs to demure Marybeth (Danielle Harris), who turns out to be the sole survivor of the first film's tour-boat cruise through Louisiana's most disgusting swamp. She escapes Crowley's one-eyed clutches and finds her way back to New Orleans and the lair of voodoo conman Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd, of Candyman
fame), where a posse of redneck morons is quickly assembled to return to the swamp and squash the innards and legend of Victor Crowley for good.
All this Victor Crowley and innards-squashing business will be familiar to fans of Hatchet, of which there are legions. Indeed, it feels as though Green has made Hatchet II as a love letter to them, raising the bloody-disgusting body count and creative means of murder--outboard motor, super-size chainsaw, belt sander--strictly to satisfy an urge felt only by the supremely devoted. Billed as an unrated director's cut, the DVD version will surely send them swooning with even more latex guts and buckets of Kool-Aid-colored blood than they might remember from midnight theatrical shows. Even the commentary tracks and making-of documentary are filled with backslaps dedicated to the exclusive Hatchet groupie club. Green is intentionally riffing on slasher films not only with the comic dialogue and dopey characters, but also by employing icons of the genre as actors. In addition to Hodder and Todd, Tom Holland, director of fanboy favorites Fright Night and Child's Play, turns up in another key role. Unfortunately, Green's sense of insider humor and commitment to a limited demographic seems to have clouded what could have been a more interesting movie. But you're probably not watching Hatchet II to see an interesting movie. You're watching to see a giddy homage to the glory days of practical gore effects and enjoy the goofy fun of howling at senseless characters that lose their heads and countless other body parts in ever more creative ways. --Ted Fry