Friday, December 17, 2010

Adam Green's Hatchet II (Review)

Hatchet II

Adam Green's Hatchet II (2010)

Directed by Adam Green

By now you've heard about the controversy that surrounded Hatchet 2's theatrical release. It was pulled mid run from theaters from AMC who cited "poor performance" at the box office. But the horror-sphere will argue that releasing an uncut, unrated and uncensored version of the movie in theaters was a huge gamble by Dark Sky Films and AMC and it was pulled because it contained too much exteeminess, gore and splatter.

Arguments aside Hatchet 2 deserved at least a decent theatrical run to prove old school American horror can survive theatrically. When all that floods US theaters are PG-13 3D CGI kills snoozefests, one can only wonder if the 80s inspired slasher films can survive in this climate. Obviously not.

But on the merit of a horror film, Hatchet 2 is a sequel that literally starts off where the last one ended. Everything about Hatchet 2 follows the sequel formula to a tee. It's been said before that Green's Hatchet is to Alien as Green's Hatchet 2 is to Aliens. Hunters abound in the sequel and all hell breaks loose. But we'll get to that in a sec.

Hatchet 2 is an unapologetic splatter slasher flick that says "Fuck You" to the other horror movies of 2010. It's the big bully in the room that taunts you, gives you wedgies, makes you feel sympathetic towards it then punches you in the face and takes your lunch money. Straight out, it's one of the best horror movies of 2010 and will easily make my top 10 list.

Victor Crowley slaughtered his way into a great rookie season in the original. Here he gives more of the same. It's the same formula and somehow it works again. I might as well go with my same review formula to.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Marybeth escapes the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling iconic killer Victor Crowley. After learning the truth about her family's connection to the hatchet-wielding madman...

Awesome Review-O-Matic

If you are any kind of horror fan, you will appreciate Hatchet 2 for what it is. A fun, goofy gorefest slasher film. It doesn't take itself seriously and if you just relax and take it all in, you know Adam Green is winking at you with a few inside jokes. If you missed it, here are a couple.
  • The film starts off exactly where the first film ended
  • Adam Green makes a cameo as Ben and Marcus's friend whose still in New Orleans
  • The character Chad references living in Glen Echo and if they heard about Leslie Vernon (referencing Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon)
  • The character Parker from Adam Green's movie Frozen is seen briefly on the TV in Reverend Zombie's voodoo shop speaking to news cameras about her lawsuit and settlement against the ski mountain from the film.
  • Troma's Lloyd Kaufman makes a cameo as one of the would be hunters
But let's get to the standard slasher jaded viewer checklist for this review

What makes a good, fun slasher movie? Below is a list of what we here at the jaded viewer deem as full of chunky gooiness when it comes to the ingredients of a solid slasher-palooza.

Does Hatchet 2 achieve everything on this list?

1.) Does the movie have..... a mysterious, insanely strong, ridiculed as a child, deformed, inbred redneck slasher?


2.) Gratuitous, over the top, super fleshy nudity?

Check. Plus we get a cameo from our former Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast member. You can't go wrong with the best nudity in a horror film. Gratuitous nudity. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

3.) Stereotypical teenage caricatures with a few old people who die gruesome and horrific over the top deaths?

Partial check. Well it's more like redneck caricatures who are old people who die gruesome and horrific deaths. Old people dying is fun.

4.) No Plot?

Check. It's a check in the fact that sure in Hatchet 2 we get to know a little more about the backstory of our freak show Hatchet face Victor Crowley. Seems like he's a bit Obama-ish which explains why he has the body of Ray Lewis. More Crowley mythology was OK but it wasn't necessary. You tell me he's a ghost/spectre from the swamp, I'm good.

5.) Kills by our slasher that make you go "Fuck yeah!"


6.) Gore, lots of it. Like serious decapitation, dismemberment, impalement, hatchet frenzy steroid rages and blood shooting out at various penetration wounds, limbs a flailing and mindless splatter and mayhem?

Check. I especially enjoyed the double saw as well as the hatchet in the vagina kill. Parry Shen has now been killed twice and both were solid. Poor Parry. Some face scraping and propeller trauma weren't that original but Green was quite creative on the kills. I give the kills a B+.

7.) Geeky leader who takes charge of the hapless group as they try to escape who befriends a hot girl who knows about the "legend" (there's always a legend no one believes)

Sorta Check. A few fodder victims never believe the legend and get to meet good ole Vic up close in person. Hot girl Marybeth takes charge and Danielle Harris does a great job in being the final girl. Her Southern drawl accent came and went but I let it go. Her uber hotness and cuteness negates any "bad acting". Parry Shen is hilarious as Justin, twin brother of Shawn from the first movie. I like how he had the faux goatee like he was the evil twin. Tony Todd plays creep Rev. Zombie who knows how to kill Crowley. But his theory is as good as looking it up on Wikipedia.

8.) Funny yet ill timed dialogue but also various quips and one liners that are funny only the first time around (yet somehow funny again when you buy the DVD and only when you're stoned)

Check. A former couple add some random sex before they're eliminated. We get a token black guy making token black guy funnies that come out flat.

9.) Gratuitous cameos by actors who have portrayed horror legends (Candyman, Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorhees) that make you flash a metal sign and do the Beavis and Butthead pseudo head nodding.

Check. Tony Todd is the only one in Hatchet 2 but when he's battling Victor Crowley I was like: "It's Candyman vs Jason!!!! This is fuckin awesome!!!!"

10.) Wildly ambiguous ending that can be used to warrant a sequel?

If you haven't seen the original, seeing these movies back to back makes the Hatchet series a solid entry to the American slasher genre. It's not as good as the first one as the characters in Hatchet 2 were more of the locals rather that the funny, goofy tourists. But the on screen kills were all top notch and quite creative.

And at the end of the day, your going to watch Hatchet 2 to see those gallons of blood tossed on a tree. I mean it's such an old school effect but somehow I don't mind. I don't need to see CGI kills to be a happy horror boy. All I need are dumb victims, a secluded area and a body being twisted in a way that's not humanly possible.

It's that same formula that worked in the 80s, worked in the 90s and worked the aughts. And it works. Hatchet 2 is old school American horror. Got that motherfucker?


See checklist item #6


Gratuitous nudity at its most gratuitous

WTF moment

Double saw kill...fuckin awesome

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Hatchet 2 is already on Video on Demand and will come out on BluRay/DVD on February 1st. Many in the horror blogosphere have made it their mission to support Adam Green and unrated horror. As a horror fan, you should be for this when it comes to horror movies that deserve it.

Hatchet 2 is violent, sick and twisted. It's a gorehound's delight and a top notch slasher flick. It deserves your support and will show up on my Top 10 list for sure.

The Vitals

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  1. I'll be buying it regardless, but HATCHET is still just a guilty pleasure for me. Some sweet ass kills in this one though!

  2. You've convinced me to check this one out. The first was a run of the mill, generic, big bowl of 'meh.'

  3. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see this during its brief theatrical run. Really enjoyed it - I still like the kills in the first film better (although double chainsaw thing was indeed amazing, but I thought the pacing far improved in this film. Watching the original again, I get a little bored waiting for the "good stuff." This one felt like it moved faster.

    I'm also glad you mentioned the ending, which I was surprised by. I really liked it though.

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