Hatchet II (Unrated Director's Cut)
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Just as the '80s had their signature murderous maniacs -- HALLOWEEN's Michael Myers of Haddonfield and FRIDAY THE 13th's Jason Voorhees of Camp Crystal Lake -- the original HATCHET marked the arrival of the latest and most lethal of the genre's stalking murderers: Victor Crowley, a crazed backwoods killer stalking the bayous of New Orleans. HATCHET II picks up right where the 2007 original film ends, as Marybeth (Danielle Harris from HALLOWEEN) escapes from the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder from FRIDAY THE 13th). Marybeth returns to the Louisiana swamps along with an army of hunters to recover the bodies of her family and exact her revenge against Victor Crowley.
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
Top customer reviews
ADAM GREEN IS A LIAR
You see, Adam insisted that the first film was intended as a serious horror film that happened to have a few comical moments. I call him a liar because it's not as bad as calling him a failure. The gratuitous gore and nudity were so over the top, and the dialogue so witty, it could only be called a horror comedy. I sure hope he drops the claim of "serious horror" for "Hatchet II" because it can get downright silly at times, and I don't really like calling people names.
ADAM GREEN DIDN'T FAIL
His ultimate goal was to make homage to the golden age of horror with ample use of practical visual effects and plug and play characters. In this, Adam succeeded. The list of actors is mostly a who's who of unrecognizable horror icons. Tony Todd (Candy Man), Kane Hodder (Jason), Tom Holland (Writer of "Fright Night" and "Childs Play"), r. a. Milhailoff (Leatherface), Perry Shen (nothing of note) and Danielle Harris (those unnecessary Halloween remakes). Not exactly a distinguished cast, but what the hey. The first "Hatchet" had a better cast and script, but when talking about "Hatchet" it's all about the gore.
MY GOROMETER IS BROKEN
The gore in "Hatchet II" has moved up the ratchet. In fact it's just plain off the chart. If you're into creative kills and over-the-top gore, this will do it for you. If you like gore and violence to be realistic and believable, you'd better move along; this ain't it! For the rest of us, this is just goofy fun. When film makers get this creative about killing people, you start to wonder about their mental state. After a while you stop wondering; they're obviously demented. I usually mix some comment about sex and nudity with the gore; what I call "Gordity". These are the staples of the horror movies this film pays homage to. Well we get a real treat in "Hatchet II" with what may be the most messed up case of necrophilia put to film. That's all the detail you'll get from me.
ADAM IS BACK ON THE HOOK
Just so you don't think I'm blind, there are a few things about "Hatchet II" I wasn't all that thrilled with. I mentioned the less-than script earlier. This script is basically a scaffold to set up a lot of creative kills. That's not all bad, but definitely knocked down the entertainment value of everything that wasn't a kill. The first film had pretty decent character development which made the kills all the more visceral. The characters in this film were mostly cords of wood for chopping. To make matters worse, one piece of wood gets killed out of view. I hardly see the point of that since the character was so thin to begin with. It was just a lost opportunity to have one more killification. Lastly, the decision to give us a good look at Victor Crowley (said mutated killer) ought to come with a prerequisite, good makeup job; just saying.
SHOULD YOU ENTER THE SWAMP?
Let's make this simple:
If ample amounts of over-the-top gore produced while a mutated maniac creatively kills large amounts of yahoos in the swamp gets you excited, then this is the film for you.
If you actually like clever dialogue, realistic violence, characters you care about, and good makeup, then steer very clear of "Hatchet II" or any other "Hatchet" film for that matter (Just to be safe).
I personally thought the production values were acceptable enough to enjoy the cavalcade of kills. The lack of good characters and a decent script were a bit disappointing, but the fast paced gore made it palatable.
-Homage factor...3 Stars
The streaming quality (back when I first rented this) was terrible. The colors were all off, and it was super pixely. I could barely make anything out. So it was a poor rental experience. No, it was not my TV. I can't say if they've fixed any of this, because I rented it when it first came to PPV and streaming.
As for the movie (at first viewing) I hated it. I think it was partly due to the quality of the film (which I really like), it was very distracting.
However, I rewatched it the other night in HD and it wasn't nearly as bad as I recalled. It still has a lot of issues compared to the first film, but it was still entertaining.
The main issue I originally had was Danielle Harris' accent. It was terrible. The 2nd go round I knew what to expect and really it was only bad when she got to emotional scenes. Because it made her seem like a terrible actress, which she isn't.
The kills were extremely over the top impossible. Never could happen the way they happen in this movie. Some of you out there might like that, but lately I like mine awesome/cool looking, but realistic. So while its awesome they went back to old school latex and makeup and none of that cgi BS, I thought they were just way too over the top.
The first film was a perfect mix of comedy/horror. This movie is more on the serious side, but still has slight comedy in it. Know that going into these films or you will possibly be disappointed.
I've got a lot more to say about this movie, but that's reserved for my horror movie/book review blog: Shivers of Horror. Link in my profile.