Hatchet is Adam Green’s creation and its notoriety quickly thrust the film and Green into the horror limelight. Though the film didn’t score big in the box office, it quickly became a cult classic and led to three sequels.
The film revolves around Victor Crowley, a deformed man who – according to legend – was accidentally killed by his father when their home, deep in New Orleans swampland was besieged by tormenting teenagers.
Though he was reported to be killed, locals very much believe that his ghost still stalks the area at night, hungry for vengeance.
When a group of friends arrives at New Orleans for Mardi-Gras a journey into the wild seems like a refreshing break from the excessive drinking and partying for two of them – Ben and Marcus.
They hop onto a bus with an inexperienced guide and some other tourists, and none of them are too worried about the stories of creepy old Crowley. But as they boldly explore his domain, Crowley starts to pick them off, tearing them apart in gruesome ways and leaving the remaining members of the group understandably terrified.
And as the group dwindles, led by bold Marybeth, Ben and Marcus do their best to keep up and stay alive.
Hatchet isn’t a film to be taken too seriously. It doesn’t hide its comedic element, which are in some ways at odds with the extreme violence and excessive gore. In some ways it’s similar to the Peter Jackson splatter films we mentioned last week in our review of Black Sheep.
In terms of entertainment and action, there is rarely a dull moment with the audience never being sure whether it’ll be a laugh, scare or gross-out moment waiting around the corner.
One could say that the plot of Hatchet is too simple, formulaic and heavily influenced by all the other ‘cabin in the woods’ horrors that preceded it. And it’s a fair point. There is a lot of horror out there, so yet another film with the same old characters and situation isn’t that inspiring at first. In 2006, the gore mightn’t have even been enough to get it the forefront as it was equaled by other releases of the year such as Hostel, Saw III and a host of slashers.
But Hatchet does have a lot of good qualities, and that’s what has given it the staying power.
Let’s start with the cast – Joel David Moore (Avatar) as the lead, Ben; Kane (Jason Voorhees) Hodder as Crowley; and appearance by other horror legends Robert Englund and Tony Todd.
Although the plot is predictable, it is well delivered and well-paced, meaning that there is never a dull moment.
The special effects are great, even if they are a little excessive. And whether you like it or not, it’s clear that Adam Green knew exactly what he wanted and delivered a film that successfully balances horror, comedy and action.
Hatchet is a fun film that introduces yet another seemingly indestructible horror monster who deserves to sit at the table with Freddy, Jason and Michael.
It isn’t multi-faceted scholarly material, and it probably doesn’t do one single thing that hasn’t been done before. But as the Hatchet franchise fans will testify, there’s something magical in this horror fantasy that keeps the audiences baying for more.
Hatchet is currently streaming on W4free. You can watch it for free here: bit.ly/3lAdcdz