I caught “Hatchet 2” on Netflix, not knowing exactly what to expect. I knew that it was supposed to be a gory slasher film, and it looked derivative of the 80’s formula: a hideously deformed monster of a man haunts a desolate Louisiana swamp, butchering anyone stupid or unlucky enough to stumble into his killing grounds.
Frankly, I’ve seen that movie quite a few times before, but I had heard the first “Hatchet” film has fans, so I thought I’d give it a chance.
The film begins right where the first one seems to have left off, with final girl Mary Beth left as the lone survivor of murderous bogeyman Victor Crowley’s wrath.
After escaping the swamp, it’s pretty obvious she is haunted by the experience, and will soon be back battling Crowley again. The plot involves Mary Beth contacting a local Voodoo Priest and scam artist named “Reverend Zombie,” who is played by Tony Todd, recognizable to any horror fan that’s seen him in “Candyman.”
What follows is a dumb setup involving the good Reverend gathering a group of low-lives and promising them each $500 to go into the swamp and help retrieve a boat of his. His real plan is to confront Victor Crowley. Several of the men he enlists have a link to his past, and Zombie thinks that if Crowley (actually it’s Crowley’s ghost that comes back every night) anyway, he thinks that if Crowley’s ghost murders those guys, then he will cease to return, freeing the swamp up so Zombie can claim it.
It’s all completely silly and stupid, but hey, we wouldn’t have a movie if no one agreed to go into the swamp. Tagging along of course is Mary Beth, and another woman. We know the moment this disposable blonde is introduced that her sole reason for being there is to show her boobs and then get murdered later in the film. It’s sort of a tradition in these things.
The group goes into the swamp, intent on spending the night, or something like that. It doesn’t really matter. The plot is secondary to other factors in a low achieving slasher film like this one. There’s a ridiculous back story for Victor Crowley of which we get a flashback, and Zombie explains his theory that if Crowley’s head is severed his ghost will disappear forever. That’s about all the plot we need for a movie like this one.
Sure enough, Crowley shows up after the large group intelligently decide to split into pairs, and starts brutally murdering everyone. The kills are the real reason this film got made, and its main appeal. Make of that what you will.
There’s a lot of gore throughout, and it’s all pretty well executed if not realistic. Early on, Crowley tears out a guy’s entrails and after pulling him around by his intestines, he wraps then around the dude’s neck and tears his head off. Geysers of blood follow. So yes, lots of pneumatic blood spraying everywhere through this movie.
Another guy gets his face shoved into the spinning blades of a boat motor, two more simultaneously have a comically large chainsaw blade split them in two from the crotch up. The blade seems to get stuck in their groins for horrific effect, before ripping through the rest of their bodies.
Crowley’s signature weapon is his hatchet (which really looks more like a small two headed battle-axe to me) and he lops off heads left and right. People’s noggins seem to pop off of their bodies with almost no effort at all, with enough blood to fill ten people spraying out afterwards.
The most memorable kills are the doomed blonde I mentioned earlier, and one of the guys on the expedition. He’s fucking her from behind when Crowley chops his head off without the woman noticing. Her paramour’s headless body spasms wildly, which she seems to enjoy, until looking back and seeing the guy fucking her no longer has his head. She then tries to crawl away from Crowley, who buries his hatchet/axe right into her naughty bits. Can’t say I’ve ever seen this particular variation of murder in a slasher film.
Finally, Mary Beth and Reverend Zombie confront Crowley, with predictable results for all parties involved.
“Hatchet 2” doesn’t have an original bone in its body, but that’s not necessarily the kiss of death for a film like this. The acting ranges from “Second rate community theater” to “Entry level professional,” also not unexpected for an independent horror film. I found the actress playing Mary Beth to be a bit on the shrill side, which was off-putting, but I can’t bash her acting too much.
The movie appears to have been shot on video and not film, which makes sense. It doesn’t look “bad” exactly, but film, or better video filters, might have made things look a little better. A lot of the latex prosthetics ended up looking a little too much like makeup due to the harsher look of video, but it doesn’t look terrible or anything.
The design of Victor Crowley looked pretty bad to me. He’s your standard deformed and retarded killer, in the mold of Jason Voorhees or Madman Mars, but he looks lousy. Played by horror veteran Kane Hodder, he could’ve looked awesome, but instead Crowley looks like a rubber headed jack-o-lantern with fake looking crepe hair. He just doesn’t look real. Oh well.
On the positive side of things, the gore is extreme, and that’s probably what most people interested in watching “Hatchet 2” really care about anyway. It’s not realistic, but it gets points for creative and nasty death scenes, and enough blood to fill a lake. The film’s pacing is also pretty good. Even good slasher films tend to bog down during the middle, but “Hatchet 2” somehow keeps things moving at a decent pace.
I’ll also give the movie points for using “Just One Fix” by Ministry for the music during the title credits.
So, if you’re looking for a modern slasher film with no surprises, but a good pace, and unrealistic but brutal kills, “Hatchet 2” might make a good time waster.
I’d give this one 6 spurting head stumps out of 10.