Hatchet is a rip-roaring slasher flick that is gleefully violent & gory with an ensemble cast that includes Robert Englund, Kane Hodder & Tony Todd. It’s not going to win any awards for a deep & rewarding story but it certainly is entertaining!
The movie opens with Sampson (Robert Englund) & his son fishing at night in New Orleans swamp. The pair are quickly killed off by some sort of monstrous being.
A few days later, Mardi Gras is in full swing & a group of young friends are in town to enjoy it. Most of the group just want to party except for Ben (Joel Moore) who is struggling to get over his ex-girlfriend. He talks the rest of the group into going on a haunted swamp tour run by Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd). Unfortunately for them & us, he has been shut down but recommends another place run by the clearly inexperienced Shawn (Parry Shen).
Also, along for the night-time tour of the swamps are two would porn-stars & their director (the excuse for nudity in the film), an elderly married couple & the quiet & moody, Marybeth (Tamara Feldman). Ben tries to talk to her but she basically tells him to fuck off.
Shawn’s inexperience sees the group get lost in the swamp at night before hitting a rock & sinking the boat. On land, Marybeth reveals her true reason for being there. She is searching for her father & brother (Sampson & his son from the beginning of the movie) so recants the tale of Victor Crowley.
Victor was born with a rare disease that left him deformed. He was bullied mercilessly so his father, Thomas Crowley (Kane Hodder) kept him hidden at their home in the swamp. One night a group of kids came to the house while Thomas was out & in an attempt to scare Victor out so they could see his deformities they threw fireworks through the window. A fire started.
Thomas arrived back & in an attempt to save his son, began breaking down the door with his hatchet. Unfortunately, Victor was on the other side of the door & Thomas hit him in the face, killing the boy. Thomas was devastated.
It’s a really heart-felt story, one that the later sequels would attempt to undo but for now the point of this story is that an undead Victor Crowley (also Kane Hodder) is said to haunt the swamp looking for his father & killing anyone he comes into contact with.
Naturally the rest of the group scoff at this story. That is until Crowley shows up & starts ripping bodies apart in glorious style. This is where the real fun of the movie comes from. The splattering of blood, the ripping of flesh, the destruction of bodies. For over the top gore Hatchet is a 10/10 film but unfortunately, it’s lacking in almost every other department.
The characters are annoying with most playing stereotypical horror fodder. It’s not that they’re unlikable or anything, they’re just characters you won’t care one bit about. The actors in roles do fine, they were told to do it a certain way & that is exactly what you get!
Tamara Feldman is the star of the film getting to play a more badass female character able to hold her own against the monster. Her fury & fighting spirit is fun to watch, particularly as she is clearly the only one likely to survive!
As the ‘big bad’ of the film, Crowley is intriguing but when it quickly becomes clear that he is effectively indestructible he stops being so interesting. If he can’t die, where’s the sense in caring about the damage done to him?
Hatchet has a nice glossy look; the swamp is a cool location & the film is paced well. A cliff-hanger ending is disappointing but overall, it’s a satisfying watch. Worth checking out for the mental gore!
Final Score - 6/10