Hatchet – 3 out of 5
There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good, cheesy horror film. Well, actually there are a lot of things I love more—like pizza. Pizza is life! However, watching a great cheesy horror film is so much fun. The horror/thriller/slasher genre is so flooded with films that I find myself watching more bad ones than good ones but when you find that right one that is self-aware enough to not try and be a serious feature and actually succeeds in being entertaining, amusing and fun, it’s quite the achievement. Sure, I watch a lot of bad ones that are fun because they were poorly made (for example, just this month I went through the entire Phantasm franchise and that one was pretty much built on the idea of being so poorly made that they’re fun to watch) but sometimes I want one that just wants to have some fun with the blood and guts. That being said, my buddy recommended Hatchet to me and it fulfilled that need for a fun, gory feature very well.
|Who would have thought that seeing a ridiculous|
amount of boobs and insane amounts of drinking
wouldn't cure this man of his heartbreak?
Feeling heartbroken after a breakup with his girlfriend, Ben (Joel David Moore) joins his friends for Mardi Gras in hopes of finding fun. However, the party scene is too much for him so he goes off to find a haunted boat ride that was recommended to him by the mysterious Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd). Not wanting him to go alone, his friend Marcus (Deon Richmond) joins him. Together, they find themselves on a questionable tour run by a guy named Shawn (Perry Shen) and joined by skeevy director (Joel Murray) and his two party girls seeking fame (Mercedes McNab and Joleigh Fioreavanti), a polite Midwestern couple (Richard Riehle and Patrika Darbo) and a quiet, tormented young woman named Marybeth (Tamara Feldman). After their boat becomes stuck, Marybeth reveals that the swamp they are in is home to a horrible monster named Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) and he doesn’t take kindly to anyone who invades his land. It’s not long before the legend proves to be true and the tourists are running for their lives and trying to not be the next victims of the swamp dwelling maniac!
|Is he related to the Toxic Avenger?|
One thing Hatchet does very well is be silly without being stupid. It’s hard to incorporate comedy into the world of horror because it requires a certain balance. You need to mix the genres up into the right blend where something is funny and you still have the flavor of horror with it. Hatchet isn’t a riotous comedy with tons of laughs to it but it provides just enough and does so without getting too dumb (I mean, it does get dumb sometimes). This made for a feature that was fairly fun and the production clearly knew when and how hard to ride the line to make the most of their satirical slasher premise. When it needed to really hit hard the tropes, it hit them astoundingly hard. When the film needed a terrible throwaway joke that works for the moment, it did that. This created a movie that had the right mixture of varying levels of jokes and meta gags, along with the right amount of fantastic gore.
|He's not hurt, he's just singing a James Brown song and is really getting into it.|
Additionally, the cast is surprisingly good in this one. Normally, with horror films of all kinds, my expectations for the acting is kinda low because the genre doesn’t usually attract the best actors but everyone really seemed to understand the motives of writer/director Adam Green and were able to showcase their characters as people who were in a live or die scenario but also presented them with just the right hint of satire. It was also really cool to see cameos from horror icons Robert England, Tony Todd and Kane Hodder. Having them is just fun!
|Of course, we all know Robert England better as his horror film counterpart;|
Jason. Ha ha, I'm kidding. We all know he's Michael Myers, duh!
|The weak makeup here almost felt like a joke itself.|
Like the film is giving you a false setup of what to
Finally, the gore effects in this movie were amazing! Like the performances, my expectations for the slaughter-y portions of the film weren’t that high because I’ve seen my fair share of low budget slasher films that do not offer up great gore. Things like blood that just doesn’t look convincing or the fact it’s obvious they are using bad mockups of the actors and you can tell that the killer is slashing up a dummy or, even worse, really bad CG can really ruin a horror experience. Hatchet doesn’t have this limitation as the practical gore effects look amazing and genuinely blew me away. The kills are extremely graphic and looked very realistic. It was not just impressive but it was also a nice and striking antithesis to the comedy the film is providing.
|That...is terrifyingly realistic looking.|
|Deon Richmond was a whole lot of fun in this one.|
Hatchet isn’t the best dark comedy I’ve seen in my life as there are moments where the tropes are being hit too hard and some story elements feel superfluous but I won’t deny that it was a fun watch. Some of the jokes are pretty cheesy but that is made up for with the fact that Adam Green has a very clear and deep understanding of the slasher genre. Add in the fun cast and some truly wicked gore effects and the film proved to be a very entertaining feature that definitely delivers on something very gore-tastic! And now I hate myself because I just described this film as “gore-tastic.”