Director – Adam Green
Cast – Joel Moore, Tamara Feldman, Deon Richmond, Kane Hodder, Mercedes McNab, Parry Shen, Joel Murray, Joleigh Fioravanti, Richard Riehle, Patrika Darbo, Robert Englund, Tony Todd
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
It is a shame it took me this long to post a review for this epic horror masterpiece. I feel deeply in love with this film the first time I viewed it, but because my standard of reviewing forces me to re-watch any film I review(if it is not my first time viewing it), it took me a while to get to this one. Writer/director Adam Green broke onto the horror scene with this film, and has already made a name for himself and set himself up to be one of horror’s great directors if he keeps it up. The film’s tagline says “Old School American Horror”, and that is right on the spot. This film is a perfect shout-out to the campy and gory 80s horror flicks we grew up loving. It is nice to see we still get genre efforts like “Hatchet” these days despite all the Hollywood horror nonsense like “The Haunting of Molly Hartley” we get in theaters.
“Hatchet” stars dorkfest Joel Moore as “Ben”, a recently broken hearted guy looking for some fun and excitement to help him cope with being dumped. Ben and a group of his friends head to New Orleans for some Mardi Gras fun and all of the “pleasures” that come with it. While in New Orleans he learns of a tourist attraction where you are taken out on a boat to the local swamps and allowed to see the marshes exhibit beautiful lights at night. He convinces his friends to ditch the Mardi Gras festivities for a while, and they join a boat tour with a shady(and out of place) tour guide. When their boat becomes stranded deep into the swamp, their chances of survival in the alligator infested waters do not look good. Unfortunately for the group, their chances of survival get even worse when they come into contact with Victor Crowley, a heavily deformed man who was killed many years before by an accident due to a prank pulled on him. Victor Crowley now has the group in his sights, and with the group dwindling down one by one in gruesome fashion, Ben may have found something much worse than a broken heart.
I cannot fully explain to you just how awesome this film is. Writer/director Adam Green must have really been a big horror fan growing up because he tackles every one of the usual clichés we experience in the 80s slasher flicks we enjoy so much. The “prank gone wrong”, is the classic back story to some of horror’s greatest slashers, and to me it never gets old as long as it stays interesting. Thankfully, this tactic never loses my interest, heh. I could cover all of the other clichés, but you should be able to tell just from the plot that this film follows the classic horror template, with more gore to offer. We get some of the sweetest kills ever caught on the silver screen in this film, with the “old couple” kill being my favorite. Aside from the gory mess this film brings on some nice humor as well. This is not the silly “Scary Movie” type comedy, but a little more subtle yet very enjoyable type of funny. As if this film could not get any cooler, it stars none other than horror icon and greatest Jason Vorhees actor of all time, Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley! The shout-outs reign high as we get a small and enjoyable roles by Robert Englund(the ONLY Freddy Krueger) and Tony Todd(of “Candyman” fame).
Normally I could go on an on about a film like this, but this flick is just so simple I would rather not completely diagnose the film for it would maybe ruin your film experience if you knew too much too soon. Just keep in mind that despite this film being as simple as can be, it is executed perfectly by Adam Green. His direction is top notch as he expertly choreographed each kill scene, and shot this film beautifully as well. We never get any pacing issues in this film, thanks in part to the comedy which keeps us entertained when we aren’t watching Victory Crowley do his thing.
Overall, this is an amazing horror film and true shout-out to 70s and 80s American horror. I recommend this to all horror fans who appreciate those types of films, and those who would like to see possibly the goriest film ever wide-released in theaters. Yes that is right, this film did get a wide release. Finally, Hollywood distributors get something right.
– I listed this film as an “Honorable Mention” in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(21-30) post.