Friday, May 22, 2015

Weekly schlock and new old school?

I know this film is both lauded and vilified. It is a throwback to bygone days and it is a genre travesty. It was both over and under hyped years ago. It really seems to be polarizing between horror fan. I know going in that this is not a parody, but a quasi-homage to the slasher genre of yesteryear.

I have dipped my toe into the Hatchet trilogy.

We open on a verbally abusive father and son out for a typical night of gator hunting. Well it all goes awry as something attacks them. Then……

It is Mardi Gras and this guy Ben has the blues because his girlfriend is gone. His buddies are trying to cheer him up with booze, beads and boobs. This has no effect and Ben decides to ditch the party to go on a creepy haunted swamp boat tour. His buddy, and token black guy, Marcus tags along with him. Off they go into the creepy haunted swamp along with an older married couple, a quiet and shady girl (Marybeth), an amateur porn director and his two boob flashing bim-bettes, and the tour guide who was an Asian guy with a horrible southern accent.

Along the way the boat gets stuck and the group of course gets to land. It is here that Marybeth reveals that this little patch of swamp is home to the murderous Victor Crowley, a ghost local legend. Except it is no legend and this Victor guy killed her dad and brother. (insert Victor Crowley backstory that involves a deformed kid, shenanigans, fire and an axe to the face) Marybeth is on a mission to get revenge on Victor Crowley by killing him. That sounds logical since he is a ghost? Now the little group is must escape the swamp with Victor Crowley, who is giant deformed muscly kill crazy freak show now, jumping out from behind any piece of foliage to dismember anyone he can grab.

Hatchet has all the benchmarks of an 80’s slasher: unkillable bad guy, a inane plot, BEWBS, characters you don’t really get to know or care about, dialogue that isn’t the greatest, attempted comedy hits and good old fashioned practical effect gore. A great job was done making this film feel like an old school slasher!

Kane Hodder Victor Crowley Crowley kane hodder from
The antagonist Victor Crowley

The biggest problem I had was the pacing. This is such a slow burn. It was really tedious until Victor shows up and tears apart the loving older couple. Then the film really started to move. It felt like over half the movie was gone before the first appearance and death scene. I get the build before the reveal, but here it was too long.

That being said, once the death starts it gets next level bonkers! Victor Crowley tears though people like “Kleenex at a snot party!” (thank you Colonel Leslie Hapablap). The gore was just spectacularly comical: a man torn in two, a belt sander to the face, a head torn off at the jaw, limb removal and all inter cut with blood and viscera thrown onto nearby trees. It was just so awesomely ridiculous I couldn’t help but laugh. Plus it was all done with practical special effects and by the gods I miss that stuff!

Belt sander dentistry!

Victor Crowley was a pretty forgettable villain. Sure was he a kill crazy mountain of deformed flesh, but…….his back story was too similar to The Burning, his strength and ability to never die was a mash-up of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, and he is a free repeater like Jason as well. Sure, He is played by Kane Hodder who was Jason in a good chunk of the Friday 13th films. I could never get behind his look, bibs, stringy hair, hunchback and mongo deformed head. He just wasn’t a cool as a guy in overalls in Shatner or goalie mask. Hell, even a guy in plain clothes and an apron wearing a human skin mask works better. So yes, I find Victor Crowley’s look a bit poo, but the blood and gore he provides makes up for it. 

The remaining cast is made up of “Hey its that guy!” people. There isn’t a big name in the main cast but you have probably seen most of them in something. Well …maybe you might have if you watch a shite ton of movies/t.v. There are two great cameos here as well. Robert Englund plays the dad of Marybeth and Tony Todd plays a dude name Revered Zombie. Those two jump right out. I guess one of the dudes from Blair Witch is in there too. I didn’t recognize him, but others might.

Hatchet was not the proverbial shot in the arm that the slasher genre needed, as history has shown us. However, it is a great new but feels old slasher film. It did spawn two more movies that I will have to watch, just to see if the gore gets even crazier! It might move slow, but once the bloody bits start you forget about all that It isn’t the best old school slasher (Does that make sense when it was made in the 2000’s?), but it is nowhere near the worst. 

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