Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

February 8, 2011

Movie Review: Hatchet II (2010, Dark Sky/ MPI)

Adam Green has been a busy man the past couple years. After unleashing his superb 80's throwback slasher comedy, Hatchet, Green quickly plunged into production for Frozen and the inevitable Hatchet II. Hatchet II has received mediocre reviews at best compared to the critically acclaimed original. There's also been much talk on the internet about the "Support Unrated" campaign, mostly negative as well; some claiming it to be more of a publicity stunt. Hatchet II was apparently given the cold shoulder by theaters because of its graphic violence. Whether it's true is certainly up for debate. As someone who shat his pants at the site of warning labels on B horror films at his local mom and pop, this to me, was inviting.

Buy Hatchet II on DVD or Blu-ray

Hatchet II stars Danielle Harris (Halloween series, Roseanne) as Marybeth. In the opening sequence, the adorable three-foot-two inch tall Harris is shown fighting with the hulking psycho, Victor Crowley(Kane Hodder). In this bout the pint-sized cutie gets the best of him by puncturing his eyeball and escaping to a nearby cabin. Crowley still lives because he's super-human. Inevitably, she is drawn back to the swamp with her uncle Bob (Tom Holland) to find her family and friends. Of course she has to bring several dumb rednecks and hunters (including Reverend Zombie, played by Tony Todd) to get killed in a variety of gruesome ways, each attempting to top the other. Zombie may just be the key because he knows how to kill Victor Crowley.

Let me start by saying, Hatchet II is not near as bad as many make it out to be. It's actually quite fun, especially if you’re an admirer of true old school, non-cgi gore. The movie delivers perfectly in that department with some of the most explicit gore in any recent movie. One charachter is turned completely inside out, other perish via Crowley's gigantic and even some lovers mid coitus get slaughtered by the man-beast. The story, humor, and the enjoyable performances from part one, however, are not present in the sequel. The only thing worse than the story in Hatchet II, is the acting. Harris and Holland ( who is an amazing director and writer) are stiff. Harris is way over-the-top in some instances. As I said, the real star here is the impressive gore FX.

The image quality on the disc is quite good. The majority of the film, as expected, is at night and looks perfectly fine so the transfer is sharp enough to display the many Crowley kills as they should. The DVD is widescreen and the aspect ratio is 1.77:1 and didn't exhibit any issues. The sound is also an area where the DVD shines. This DVD version from Dark Sky Films is the unrated version.

The folks at Dark Sky films have been generous to include some enjoyable Hatchet II related extras - Behind The Screams: The Making Of Hatchet II, two commentary tracks both with Adam Green. One is with cast members Tony Todd and Kane Hodder, the other with Green's special FX guru, Robert Pendergraft and cinematographer, Will Barratt. I liked both but I got much more out of the Green/ Barrat/ Pendergraft commentary as it focused much more on scene specific observations that just tended to be more detailed.

Hatchet II, even with its many flaws still maintains enough energy and fun throughout the 86 minutes that it's sure to find an audience. As a fan of numerous absolutely mindless gore films ( The Mutilator, The New York Ripper, or any of the later Friday the 13th films.), I have to recommend it for what it truly is, an enjoyable splatter highlight reel.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed on all accounts. It's not the second coming of horror, but it's a lot of damn fun to watch. The FX kills are fucking great. Only gripe was the forced comedy.