Hatchet II (2010)

October 3, 2010 - 1:09am | Johnny D
  Tags: Adam Green, AJ Bowen, backwoods, blood, Clare Grant, Danielle Harris, gore, hatchet, homage, Kane Hodder, Kathryn Fiore, R.A. Mihailoff, sequel, slasher, spoof, swamps, Tom Holland, Tony Todd, victor crowley

Your rating: None Average: 7.1 (23 votes)
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Adam Green
Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, AJ Bowen, Tom Holland, Clare Grant, Tony Todd, R.A. Mihailoff, Kathryn Fiore

The first Hatchet was a fun, trashy throwback to the slasher days of old done right.  It was by no means anything ground breaking, with more horror cameos and buckets of blood than actual plot, but as far as entertainment value went, it was top notch.  Like every film, it has its cynics.  If you’re one of them then avoid Hatchet II, as there is nothing new here that will persuade you over to the franchise.

Adam Green’s sequel picks up the moment its predecessor ends, plunging us into the midst of Marybeth’s (now played by the never aging Danielle Harris) escape from Victor Crowley’s swamp.  The following ninety minutes consist of exactly everything one would expect, filled to the brim with unbelievably over the top deaths and all around slasher mayhem.  Meaning it’s pretty much  just more of the same from the first one.  But I ask you, is that a bad thing?

If you’re sitting in the theater for Hatchet II then you are there for the sole reason to see Crowley dismember and disembowel everyone that crosses his path.  In that respect, the sequel is a success.  The body count is higher, the death scenes are more elaborate, the horror references are ever-present (albeit occasionally a little too heavy handed), the final girl is played by a much more capable actress, and we’re even thrown the bare essentials of a plot that expands Victor Crowley’s legend and it’s connections to the characters.

Much like the first film, there is nothing particularly scary going on here.  Green proved himself with Spiral and Frozen that he can master an atmospheric, building tension, and clearly here he wants to get back to having a great time.  Tony Todd returns to his cameo role of Reverend Voodoo, only this time it's been wisely expanded to one of the main leads.  There’s no question that Todd is a commanding presence on screen no matter what the role, and this is no exception.  While Kane Hodder’s Crowley is clearly THE villain of the film, it’s nonetheless heartwarming to see that Todd is still able to put on his best hushed whisper to creep the fuck out of anyone he talks to.  And, like, come one…it’s fucking Candyman going head to head with Jason Voorhees.  Badassery ensues.

Taking over the role of Marybeth, originally played by Tamara Feldman, is an actress who should need zero introduction to horror fans.  The erection inducing Danielle Harris.  If you’re anything like me, you grew up watching Danielle.  Whether she was stabbing her foster mother with a pair of scissors or getting choked to death while her roommate thought she was getting smushed.  Feldman’s Marybeth was more of a afterthought character.  She kinda just chilled in the corner and didn’t speak much until way into the third act.  Harris’ Marybeth takes center stage as she starts off as the victim we left off with, but eventually has her moment of epicness as gallons of blood are blasted onto her purty little face.  Danielle delivers, and Feldman’s loss is the rest of our gain.

Hatchet II is not without problems.  The supporting characters are nothing more than stock rednecks that serve no other purpose than to add  to the body count, and in A.J. Bowen and Alexis Peters‘ case, provide for one helluva memorable sex scene.  The token black guy tells painfully unfunny jokes while everyone else just kind of exists.  Nothing against their performances per se, just that any kind of meat in the script was given to Harris, Todd, an Tom Holland (in the role of Marybeth’s uncle).  And I’m sorry to say this, Mr. Holland, but please stick to directing horror films instead of starring in them. 

I was also under the impression that the budget for this film was significantly higher than the first one, but there were a few scenes where an amateurish style peaked through.  The movie is clearly shot on video as opposed to film (which is swiftly becoming the norm), but there were a few night shots that LOOKED like cheap video and stood out from the scenes they were cut between.  Tis slightly nitpicky of me, true, but I just expected a more consistent level of professionalism for a production of this size.

Hatchet II is solely made for fans of the first film who are looking for more of the same blood-drenched, throwback fun.  Yeah, it's cheesy and dumb, but it’s also fast, violent, and comes to a screeching halt long before it can overstay its welcome.  Definitely worth the effort of seeking it out if only for the fact that who the hell knows when the next time a movie like this will make it to an actual theater chain.  Judging by the six people in my showing, probably no time soon.

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