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.
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Part II SIDEBAR: So after Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder; Friday the 13th parts VII-X, Hatchet) survived being burned alive and speared through the neck with an iron gate pole, he pulled a Jason Voorhees and aquatic-ambushed our final survivors Ben (Joel David Moore; Shark Night 3D, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein in Chillerama) and Marybeth (Tamara Feldman; Perfect Stranger)—with the credits rolling as Crowley slovenly rages with Marybeth in his clutches. Replacing Tamara Feldman, Danielle Harris (Halloween I-II, The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond) assumes the role of our surviving heroine whose initial goal was to rid the swamp of Crowley’s curse since, in fact, it was her gator-hunting father (Robert Englund; Zombie Strippers, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy vs Jason) and brother who were killed in part 1’s opening scene.
Writer/director Adam Green (Frozen, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein in Chillerama) delighted audiences with his spoofy horror (Hatchet) paying homage to the Gods of 80s slasher movies, and now he has returned to develop his killer’s folklore. This sequel picks up immediately as Hatchet (2006) left off: with Marybeth in Crowley’s clutches in the swamp. And just as quickly as she finds safety, we learn that her family ties run deeper than both part 1 revealed and deeper than even Marybeth realizes.
Horror icons Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child’s Play), R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Pumpkinhead II, Smothered) and Tony Todd (Final Destination 5, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) round out the cast, which curiously includes Parry Shen (The Hazing/Dead Scared) playing the brother (Shawn) of part 1’s tour guide (Justin).
Hatchet succeeded by virtue of its simplicity: some twenty-somethings randomly get killed in gloriously gory fashion after some basic exposition about their mutant killer is sprinkled in for flavor. This sequel, however remaining playfully spoofy, tries to be more than its stage-setting predecessor, and this may have been its downfall.
The special effects in part 1 yielded outstandingly fun on-screen death scenes. A significant drop from 2006’s $1.5M budget (which was utilized as best I’ve ever seen), this sequel clocks in at $800K. And whereas some gore effects were great, the huge action gap between the opening kill and the third act was really quite boring and it wicked away the spoofy “bad movie” charm of the caricatured characters. That was quite a weak point.
But when the kills start to add up, it all gets fun again and perhaps redeems the film for those patient enough to suffer through the first 60 minutes. The ensuing macabre shenanigans include a sex scene kill complete and a double chainsaw kill—both boasting some mean genital mutilation—along with more decapitation, torso-rending, impalement antics, a brutal curb stomp and a messy head smash. There’s even a rope-and-reel disembowelment followed by strangling someone with their own intestines. The effort is all there, but the execution doesn’t always measure up to the original.
With a little patience, fans of the original should enjoy this even if it fails to do proper justice to its origins.
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.