A lot has been said about the demise of the slasher film these last few years, coupled with regular face palm orientated head shaking at the amount of CGI gore that has crept into the horror industry. While this is true to an extent, with all darkness you’ll often find some light and here that light is Adam Green. The 38 year old writer / director wowed horror fans with the creation of Victor Crowley for the first Hatchet film in 2006, and despite relinquishing the director’s chair for this chapter it’s his pen that wrote the script.
Taking over behind the camera duties is BJ McDonnell, himself a veteran of the franchise as the camera operator whilst returning onscreen is genre favourite Danielle Harris, legendary stuntman Kane Hodder (Friday 13th) and Zach Galligan (Gremlins). Following a brief recap of the end of Hatchet II which saw Marybeth (Harris) dispose of Victor in the most goretastic way possible, she finds herself in the local police department holding the prized scalp of Victor Crowley. Sheriff Fowler (Galligan) attempts to get to the bottom of Marybeth’s story but finds it hard to get past how unbelievable it sounds – that is until an on-site report from his colleagues uncover the scale of the carnage.
As the Sheriff heads to the scene to begin his investigation, a nosey local reporter Amanda Pullman (‘Stretch’ from TCM2 no less) is keen to do a piece on this fast breaking story. After being rebuffed by the Sheriff, she decides the only way to get on board the case is to post bail for Marybeth. Meanwhile, back in the swamp the body (or bits of) of Victor Crowley has been recovered and body-bagged and placed on board the boat that carried the police to the scene of crime. Thankfully though, as Marybeth had dismembered him to such an extreme degree, he surely couldn’t possibly post any further threat now… could he? Damn right he could – he’s back, and only one woman can end this.
For reasons of full disclosure I have to admit I’m a fully-fledged member of the Hatchet fan club, and even if this second sequel was the horror equivalent of Plan 9 from Outer Space I have a nagging suspicion that somehow I’d manage to find something glowing to say about it. However, that is most certainly not the case as Adam Green has delivered a film that takes the rule of diminishing sequels, rips it up and fires a 12 gauge right into its heart. Most heartening is the fact that this sequel feels like a natural progression, as opposed to a cynically created vacuous bit of filler. As always it’s great to see your much loved character return such as Marybeth, and here Danielle Harris proves that she’s an undoubted horror icon. Kane Hodder too embodies the prosthetics of Victor Crowley, and we even get a Jason vs Jason face-off as Hodder does battle with Derek Mears who played the Friday 13th icon in the remake. Also, special credit to Parry Shen as well (playing his third different character in this franchise!) who brings some welcome humour to the movie.
The Hatchet films are horror movies made by horror people for horror fans. It’s that simple. Victor Crowley is an excellent creation, and the way the series uses practical effects so prominently surely demands a level of respect towards it. The transition from Adam Green to BJ McDonnell as director is seamless no doubt due his role on the previous two films, and the fact that the series creator is still writing the sequels is a badge of quality all in itself. If you say you’re a horror-fiend, and you DON’T have any of the Hatchet films in your collection, then use the release of Hatchet III to remedy that. It’s a blood soaked love letter to the slasher genre.